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NY Post
New York Post
17 Feb 2024

NextImg:Pacers’ Tyrese Haliburton had bizarre trade deadline call with ‘mysterious’ Adrian Wojnarowski

This year, as a cornerstone of the Pacers’ present and future, Tyrese Haliburton wasn’t moved at the trade deadline.

That likely won’t happen again for the foreseeable future.

But when he was dealt two years ago, going from the Kings to the Pacers in a pre-deadline blockbuster, ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski made a strange appearance on a call between Haliburton and his agent while details of the transaction were being finalized.

Haliburton had been told earlier in the day that he could get traded — and he even informed his girlfriend about the possibility — but then his agent said that the Kings weren’t answering calls, keeping the other team involved in the transaction unknown.

“And then Woj’s voice comes on, ‘I think it’s Indiana,’” Haliburton recalled during an appearance on “The Woj Pod” that was taped live in Indianapolis ahead of NBA All-Star Weekend. “I’m like, What? How is Woj on the phone? I’m thinking this is a call with my agent.”

Tyrese Haliburton was traded from the Kings to the Pacers at the NBA trade deadline in 2022. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

Before that, Haliburton thought maybe the 76ers would’ve been a possible destination in a deal that also included then-Philadelphia star Ben Simmons.

But until Wojnarowski thought it might’ve been the Pacers, Haliburton didn’t have much clarity, since the Kings were “being weird” and “not answering our calls,” his agent told him.

Haliburton told his girlfriend to not worry — even he didn’t have much concrete information about the possible scenarios.

“We’ll figure it out,” Haliburton recalled telling his girlfriend that day. “If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. Let’s just be professional, move on.”

Tyrese Haliburton described ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski as "mysterious."
Tyrese Haliburton described ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski as “mysterious.” Getty Images

And shortly after he heard Wojnarowski on the call, the Kings traded Haliburton, Buddy Hield and Tristan Thompson to the Pacers for Domantas Sabonis, Justin Holiday, Jeremy Lamb and a second-round pick.

“That just goes to show you this guy is like mysterious,” Haliburton, who was a first-round pick by the Kings in 2020, said of Wojnarowski. “You don’t know where he is. He’s everywhere. He’s everywhere.”

In his first full season with the Pacers last year, Haliburton made his All-Star Game debut and averaged 20.7 points — along with 10.4 assists — per game.

He signed a five-year, $260 million max contract extension in July, and through 43 games in 2023-24, Haliburton has averaged 21.8 points and a league-leading 11.7 assists per game.

Haliburton helped the Pacers — which hold the Eastern Conference’s No. 6 seed at the All-Star break — advance to the championship game of the NBA’s inaugural In-Season Tournament, and his 15-assist, zero-turnover outing against the Bucks in the semifinals helped extend Indiana’s unexpected run.