Gonzaga alum Domantas Sabonis is already on the move to the Indiana Pacers after one year in the NBA. Sabonis was part of a package deal with Victor Oladipo from the Thunder in exchange for Paul George.
"We feel very strongly about the potential Victor and Domantas bring to our team and what they mean for the future of the franchise," said Pacers President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard. "Both are highly competitive, highly skilled and both are winners. That is why both were lottery picks, that is why we sought them out to be part of this deal."
The deal was announced at the beginning of the Free Agency frenzy, but was finalized today.
Sabonis averaged 5.98 points and 3.6 rebounds in 20.1 minutes his rookie season. However, with Russell Westbrook taking control of the Thunder day in and day out, Sabonis didn’t really have an opportunity to showcase why he was drafted No. 11. That was fully on display in the playoffs, where he played a grand total of six minutes during the Thunder’s loss to the Houston Rockets. Sabonis didn’t play in the final three games of the series.
Sabonis will slot in as the backup power froward behind Thaddeus Young, who averaged 11 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. Sabonis’ career is just getting started, and there is probably more room for him to grow in the somewhat rebuilding Pacers lineup than there is in the “we feel like we can compete with the Warriors but we can’t at all just give Westbrook the ball” Thunder lineup.
Indy Cornrows, SB Nation’s Pacers blog, hasn’t had much to say on Sabonis yet as they digest the news the team will no longer have Paul George.
Pritchard and new GM Chad Buchanan must think highly of Domantas Sabonis. Who knows, Sabonis could turn into something special. You never know with a player that young.