The Indiana Pacers have started to explore the trade market for Domantas Sabonis. There are logical reasons for this: Sabonis is good (he was second in Sixth Man of the Year voting last season), yet he and the Pacers are nowhere near agreement on a contract extension, and the Pacers already paid big money for Myles Turner to be their center, how much do they want to pay Sabonis, too?
That’s sound logic if you’re in the Pacers’ front office.
If you’re Sabonis, it can feel like a slap in the face to a guy who put in a lot of sweat and passion for the franchise. That’s what Sabonis sounded like in this quote, via Scott Agnes of The Athletic.
Domas on potentially being dealt:
"There’s not really much to talk about. I know exactly how the Pacers feel about me now, they know how I feel about that, and there’s not much more to say. Let my agents do the rest of it and we’ll see what happens.”
He has spoken to his dad.
— Scott Agness (@ScottAgness) October 19, 2019
The Pacers are not talking about the report, which started with the well connected and reliable Sam Amick at The Athletic.
McMillan when asked about yesterday’s reports about Sabonis possibly being on the trade block and where the team may be on an extension: “I don’t talk about contracts.”
Is that something you have to talk about with Domas?
“I don’t talk about contracts.”
— Nathan Brown (@By_NathanBrown) October 19, 2019
Pacers’ brass needs to talk about this with Sabonis (and likely already have, behind closed doors). If the Pacers trade him, it’s likely not until after Dec. 15 at the earliest (when most players signed this summer can be included in a deal) and probably closer to the February trade deadline. That’s a lot of season to play out, and Sabonis remains a vital part of the Indiana rotation.
There is likely to be a lot of interest in Sabonis on the market. However, because he’s a center (a position teams are careful not to overspend on in today’s market) and in the last year of his rookie deal — meaning he becomes a restricted free agent next summer and gets more expensive — teams are not going to overpay for him. Right now the Pacers are asking for too much and interested teams are lowballing their offers. The sides will meet in the middle.
That middle could shift if Sabonis has a rough start to the season. Both sides need him to play well and feel comfortable, whatever is going on with the business side of his contract.