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Domantas Sabonis describes going against the Indiana Pacers for the first time since being traded

Sabonis is playing against the Pacers for the first time since being traded away by the franchise.
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SACRAMENTO — For the first time since he was a rookie, Sacramento Kings big man Domantas Sabonis will go against the Indiana Pacers tonight.

The first two times Sabonis went against Indiana, he was a first-year player and had not established himself in the NBA. After that season, he was traded to the Pacers, and that's when his career took off. The Lithuanian big man improved slowly over his first two campaigns with the blue and gold before becoming a starter.

Then, he burst on to the scene. He was an All-Star in each of the next two seasons, and he guided Indiana to the postseason with his strong play in 2018-19. Sabonis helped bridge the Pacers out of the Victor Oladipo era with his high-level performances, and he became popular in the state of Indiana.

But in his final season with the blue and gold, the team didn't fit together. They struggled, and ultimately changed directions. President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard sent Sabonis to Sacramento in a package that netted his team Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield (other pieces were moved around) as both teams found a deal that fit their goals.

The trade has been a win-win for both teams. But tonight is the first time that Sabonis will go against the blue and gold since the deal, and it's the first time Haliburton and Hield will play in Sacramento after being dealt. It will be an emotional night.

Sabonis spoke to the media this morning about the game, the Pacers, and his new situation in Sacramento. "At the end of the day, it's just another game on the schedule," he said, in part. You can watch his full media availability below.

The Pacers and Kings battle tonight at 10 p.m. Eastern Time in the Golden 1 Center.

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