He’s been pretty quiet at the Domantas Sabonis front lately.
On December 7, Athletic’s Shams Charania and Bob Kravitz reported that the Pacers were “receptive to business dialogue with opposing teams regarding multiple veteran players” on their roster, including Sabonis. A few days later, Charania added that “the two-time All-Star is expected to generate great interest” in the league and will be “among the attractive players that could be available in a trade.”
However, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on the podcast “The Hoop Collective” in mid-December that he hadn’t heard much of the Sabonis name in the commercial market. Not yet, anyway.
We are still a month away from this season’s trade deadline. Even if there isn’t much talk about Sabonis right now, he might be one of the best players available. (The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor and The Action Network’s Matt Moore also reported that they’ve heard that he wants to get out of Indiana, which would add another layer to all of this, though Pacers reporter Scott Agness said that’s false.)
With that in mind, here is what Sabonis brings to the table, plus some potential business destinations for him.
NBA League Pass: Sign up to unlock games outside the live market (7-day free trial)
What would a team be achieving in Domantas Sabonis
Sabonis has undergone quite a dramatic transformation since entering the league. While Oklahoma City used him as a span four in his rookie season, he has since become a center who eats double-doubles for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Over the past two and a half seasons, Sabonis has been good for 19.4 points and 12.1 rebounds a night. He has recorded a total of 126 double-doubles during that span, placing him behind only three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert (129) and current MVP Nikola Jokic (132) with the most in the league.
Sabonis builds his offense in the way you’d expect a traditional center to do. Not only is he a skilled scorer with his back to the basket …
… but he’s one of the best pick-and-roll greats in the league.
What he lacks in the athletic department he makes up for in his footwork, touch, and general knowledge: when to set a hard screen, when to slip, where to position to open pass lanes.
He also consistently ranks among the league leaders in cuts and knockdowns scoring.
Not a great shooter, but Sabonis offers Some hope of spacing.
After eliminating 3s from his game in his first three seasons with the Pacers, he made 2.6 3s per game last season and hit them at a rate of 32.1 percent. Not much has changed so far this season: He’s hitting 2.5 3-pointers per game and doing it at a nearly identical rate (32.3 percent).
Sabonis will also shoot from mid-range from time to time, although the results have been quite high and low up to this point in his career. In his first four seasons, he combined to pitch a respectable 194 of 485 (40.0 percent) from midrange. Since then, he has been 34 of 122 correct (27.6 percent) from that distance.
Sabonis is not just a scorer, of course. In addition to those 19.4 points and 12.1 rebounds, he has averaged 5.5 assists per game in the last two and a half seasons, which places him seventh among forwards and centers.
He’s a genuinely good passer, particularly off the post and elbow.
The biggest concern with Sabonis comes from the other side of the court. Not that he’s a lost cause, but he’s never been a great rim protector due to his physical limitations and he’s not shaping up to be someone who would thrive in a heavy shift scheme. As such, Sabonis would benefit greatly from playing alongside versatile defenders.
MORE: Sabonis Among Players Most Likely To Be Traded This Season
Potential business destinations for Domantas Sabonis
charlotte hornets – Center is a position of necessity for the Hornets. It can be argued that they would be better off with Myles Turner because he gives them more than they lack: a defensive anchor that can protect the rim to a high level, but Sabonis would give them even more firepower offensively. .
toronto raptors – The Raptors have reportedly shown interest in Sabonis in the past. The Raptors could surround Sabonis with several versatile defenders and give them a low-post presence they haven’t had since Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol. At just 25 years old, Sabonis fits decently into the Toronto timeline.
Dallas Mavericks – The Mavericks would benefit from having another creator on their roster. While Sabonis isn’t a traditional playmaker, it could take some of the playmaking burden off Luka Doncic’s shoulders. Sabonis and Kristaps Porzingis would make an interesting duo up front, assuming, of course, that Dallas could get Sabonis without giving up Porzingis.
golden state warriors – Sabonis would be a fascinating addition to the Warriors, who have the wherewithal to make a big move if they want to. Defensively, Draymond Green could cover many of his weaknesses. Offensively, Sabonis would have a field day playing Steve Kerr’s motion-based system as a passer and cutter alongside Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
kings of sacramento – The Kings are one of two teams that Shams Charania of The Athletic mentioned have “shown interest” in Sabonis in recent years. Sabonis, a two-time All-Star, would bring some star power to a franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2005-06.
MORE: Should Sabonis be an All-Star this season?
What is the salary of Domantas Sabonis?
Sabonis is on the books for $ 18.5 million this season. It will earn $ 18.5 million in 2022-23 and $ 19.4 million in 2023-24.
Sabonis will be an unrestricted free agent in the 2024 offseason.
|Domantas Sabonis||$ 18,500,000||$ 18,500,000||$ 19,400,000||$ 0|
It wouldn’t be difficult for teams to match Sabonis’s salary, but the Pacers are said to have “extremely high value” to him. It is safe to assume that it will take a long time to get there.