Young Pacers Star Wants To Stay With Team "Long Term"

For a rebuilding NBA team, keeping talent can be just as much of a struggle as finding it in the first place. With player mobility defining the current generation of basketball, teams with no chance of contending in the immediate future risk alienating their best players. Once such team is the Indiana Pacers, with 22-year-old stud Tyrese Haliburton head and shoulders above his teammates. But the young star seems to be relishing the opportunity to lead a new-generation Indiana Pacers squad, judging by his recent comments to the media. In an interview with Bob Kravitz of The Athletic, Haliburton expressed a serious desire to remain with the Pacers “long term”.

The Pacers attempt at a rebuild has been foiled so far by Haliburton’s exceptional play. Averaging 20.2 points, 10.2 assists and 1.8 steals per game, the new face of the franchise has elevated Indiana to a 23-20 record, good for seventh in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers acquired the young guard during last year’s trade deadline, giving up their former top player, Damontas Sabonis, Justin Holiday and Jeremy Lamb in a trade with the Sacramento Kings. Haliburton was upset about the trade at the time, but it seems he has come to love Indiana. He offered the following appraisal of his new hometown:

“I think the best part of being here is, I love the Midwest. I love Midwest people; my girl is from the Midwest. ‘Midwest nice’ is a real thing, the genuineness of people, the way they act. I really value people waving as you walk by or smiling. That matters to me, that small-town feel, that Midwest feel.”

In today’s NBA, stars who openly commit to staying with their current team, especially a small market team like Indiana, are few and far between. The Pacers front office would do well to lock up Haliburton ASAP. 

© Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports