Tyrese Haliburton on Pacers Future: 'This Is Somewhere I Want to Be Long-Term'

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 13, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 08: Tyrese Haliburton #0 of the Indiana Pacers brings the ball up court during the game against the Charlotte Hornets at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on January 8, 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton loves Indianapolis and wants to stay with the Pacers long-term.

In an interview with Bob Kravitz of The Athletic, Haliburton said:

"I think the best part of being here is, I love the Midwest. I love Midwest people; my girl (Jade Jones) is from the Midwest (they met at Iowa State). '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.

"I said this when I came from Sacramento, who I am as a person, I love hard. I love hard. And I'm a person who really invests in where he is. This is somewhere I want to be long term. I'm just being real. I love it here; my family loves it here. Of course, it's the NBA, it's a business; I said the same thing about Sacramento and then I got traded. But I want to be where my feet are and that's here in Indianapolis."

Haliburton is playing at an All-Star level with 20.2 points, 10.2 assists and 1.8 steals per game for the 23-19 Pacers, who sit seventh in the Eastern Conference.

It's a shocking improvement for a Pacers team that went just 25-57 the year before. The 22-year-old Haliburton is a big reason the Pacers have enjoyed a resurgence.

He arrived in Indianapolis last February when the Sacramento Kings traded him, Buddy Hield and Tristan Thompson for Domantas Sabonis, Justin Holiday, Jeremy Lamb and a 2023 second-round draft pick.

Haliburton publicly expressed how upset he was about the trade, writing in a Players' Tribune article that he "started crying my eyes out" after getting the news.

He also acknowledged he was excited about his new opportunity.

"I know I have to face the reality that I'm moving on," Haliburton wrote. "And even though I'm sad about leaving a team and city I love, I'm also excited for what comes next."

He has made the most of his chances in Indianapolis, as he's become the face of the franchise that appears destined for a playoff spot or a play-in tournament berth at minimum.

The Pacers are on an upward trajectory, with young and exciting talents like Haliburton and rookies Bennedict Mathurin and Andrew Nembhard.

We'll see what Haliburton's long-term future with the Pacers holds. He's under contract through 2024 after Indiana picked up his fourth-year option.