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Emotionally unpacking Tyrese Haliburton’s departure

Love is pain, and Kings fans are feeling it.

Brooklyn Nets v Sacramento Kings Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

The fans of this game are loud, opinionated, irrational, unrealistic and at most times hard to barter with when it comes to the love of their city and its people. Every once in a blue moon there comes a player who wraps their arms around a franchise and embrace it for all of its flaws.

For an organization like the Sacramento Kings, having a player like Tyrese Haliburton night in and night out when things got messy and derailed made this last year and a half a light at the end of the tunnel.

Quickly becoming a leader in his rookie campaign and carrying it over into his sophomore year, it didn’t take long for fans to fall in love with the smile and the personality that Hali brought to this roster. Whether it be in his tunnel walk-ins, the behind-the-scenes content captured by Kings’ digital, the sideline celebrations for the team or his unforgettable feet heat, Tyrese had an impact on this fan base for the better.

We’ll miss the swagger, the talent and the effort Haliburton gave to this organization. Every player comes in and says they want to be the one to change the culture, but Ty meant it to his core. It’s not lost on this fanbase that he cared, and that sentiment will carry on for as long as his NBA career.

Most importantly, we just traded away the only player who was vocally and visibly invested in this team. You can’t manufacture heart. Will and want to stay isn’t a ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ notion.

We knew we had a good one, we reaped the benefits of his presence, and watched him begin to blossom what will be an incredible career. And that’s why this one stings so much.

In the same vein, it’s okay to be devastated over losing a young talent in Haliburton while also looking forward to the potential that 2x Indiana Pacers All-Star Domantas Sobonis will bring to this squad.

There are flaws, of course. Neither player or package is perfect and its not going to change over night that the Kings are still a work in progress. But Sacramento fans have begged management for an All-Star caliber player since the parting of DeMarcus Cousins. They’ve begged for competency since the mid-2000’s. The bar has been so low, talking themselves into woeful free agent acquisitions and sub-par trades year after year after year.

Well, it finally happened. Despite the jarring fashion in which it went down, Kings fans need to allow themselves the space to grieve the loss of Haliburton while simultaneously gearing up for what might be the best brand of basketball Sacramento has played in nearly two decades.