(WFRV) – On January 22, former Oshkosh North graduate was back in Wisconsin getting his high school jersey retired and had a game the following day versus the Bucks. Nearly a month to date – he returned to his home state of Wisconsin, on Tuesday evening, but this time in a different uniform.
At the trade deadline, the Sacramento Kings pulled off a stunning trade packaging Haliburton up and sending him to Indiana. When the Kings drafted Haliburton with their first round pick during the 2020 draft, it seemed like the Iowa State product was going to be the piece to help get Sacramento get back to their winning ways. For a team like the Kings that hasn’t made the playoffs since the 2005-06 season, it shocked the entire basketball world — even Tyrese.
Haliburton took to ‘The Players Tribune’ this week to share his thoughts and closing words to Sacramento.
“I honestly thought [my agent] was joking. It was like, Come on now. They’re not trading me. Get out of here. But two seconds later, when it became clear that, actually, he wasn’t joking … I mean, I know this might sound like I’m being dramatic, but you know when you get the news that something bad has happened to a family member or a close friend? And it feels like for a few seconds your heart almost stops? Like there’s just a hollow feeling all through your body? That’s kind of what it was like”, Haliburton wrote.
When the 21-year-old received a phone call from the Kings General Manager, he knew the possibility of him getting traded became a reality.
“None of us could believe I was actually going to be leaving. I guarantee that if you had taken a poll of our locker room that morning and were like, “Which guy on this team most wants to be in Sacramento long-term” … everyone would’ve said me. And I think that’s what all those tears and emotions were about, at the end of the day”, Haliburton wrote in ‘The Players Tribune’.
It was an emotional few days for Haliburton as he packed up out west and moved quickly to Indiana to join the Pacers – another team with a losing record that hopes Tyrese will be the guy moving forward.
After Wednesday’s Bucks and Pacers game, Haliburton spoke to the media about his crazy week. He said he’s learned a lot throughout the process.
“I love hard, you know what I’m saying? When I go somewhere, I still want to be apart of building something and it’s important to me that I show that I’m all in and I think that was the case in Sacramento and it’s going to be the case here. It’s been the case in the past, in my life, and it’s not going to stop by any means”, Haliburton explained.
If there’s one thing that Haliburton has been surrounded by, dating back to his high school days, it’s the support from his friends and family. What was a 31-hour drive from Oshkosh to Sacramento, he’s now closer to his roots back in Wisconsin. The drive from Indianapolis to Oshkosh is just a short five hour drive.
“My mom and my dad have been in Indy, staying with my girl. It’s good that I’m close to home because if anyone really wants to come see me, they can get in the car and make that drive easily”, Haliburton expressed.
In Haliburton’s article on ‘The Players Tribune’, he went onto talk about how it felt good to be wanted by Indiana. It resonated with Pacers Head Coach Rick Carlisle — who was advocating to draft Haliburton during his time as the Head Coach in Dallas with the Mavericks back in 2020.
“When I was in Dallas two years ago in the draft, we were doing everything to possibly move up to get [Haliburton]. We thought he was the best player in the draft that year, but we were unable to do it. We didn’t have the ability to get up that high. He seamlessly melds with his teammates and makes great things happen for them all the time”, Carlisle told the media.
Now that the storm has calmed down and Haliburton is immersing himself into the Pacers organization, he wants to give the Pacers everything he has because no matter where he goes — he’s all in.
“Just learning as much as I can about the organization and meeting all of the people. First and foremost, just getting everybody’s names down”, Haliburton said. “Just trying to immerse myself into the community, buy some vintage Pacers stuff, you know, I think that will help me show them that I’m a little bit more bought in. I’m trying to be apart of building this culture moving forward.”