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.