The newest NBA power duo

August 23, 2019

By the end of the NBA’s summer trade deadline, the league no longer looks as it did during the 2018-2019 season, as contracts have ended and major trades have been made. Some of the league’s biggest superstars will now wear different jerseys this year, play in conferences on the opposite side of the country and play in front of new fans that cheer for unfamiliar franchises. 

When the NBA season begins every October, each roster is slightly changed, but this summer bore such substantial shifts that it seems as if the league will simply be transformed in the upcoming year. This all comes back to the trades made amongst the NBA’s biggest stars, which in my opinion make the league a bit more of an even playing field, giving basketball fans something to look forward to watching this season. 

With Kawhi Leonard and Paul George heading out to Los Angeles, Russell Westbrook moving down south to Houston, Anthony Davis joining Lebron on the Lakers and Kyrie and Kevin Durant trying to revive the Nets, the NBA’s two-man game is being taken up a notch.

The Oklahoma City Thunder took quite possibly the biggest hit during the offseason, losing the most prominent face in their short franchise history: the beloved Russell Westbrook. After seeing Kevin Durant leave the city in 2016 and join the power team that was once the Golden State Warriors, Oklahoma City (OKC) fans could not have dreamt to experience another heartbreak within the business that is professional sports. 

But, in a different fashion than the Durant episode, loyal Thunder fanatics are not experiencing the same anger and shock that came with their last prominent roster swap. Instead, the inhabitants of OKC are reminiscing on the team that could have been, as Russell Westbrook was the last symbol of the original squad that pulled the team to so much success in such a short amount of time. So, as Westbrook makes his way to Houston to be reunited with former teammate James Harden, OKC fans can find a sliver of comfort in the loss of their once cherished, truly fearless leader. 

In addition to saying goodbye to Westbrook, George was also traded away to the Los Angeles Clippers, joining Leonard after he left the Toronto Raptors. In total, Oklahoma City received young guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and crafty forward Danilo Gallinari. They also got first round draft picks for 2022, 2024 and 2026, two first round picks from Miami, and first-round pick swaps in 2023 and 2025 according to NBA.com. The Clippers received only George, who had a brief stint in OKC after being acquired from the Indiana Pacers in 2017.

As the Oklahoma City dynasty that once was a championship contender has officially come to a close, that of the Golden State Warriors has also acquired a new look, with Kevin Durant starting anew in Brooklyn to tag team with Kyrie Irving and sixth-man Andre Iguodala being traded to Memphis. 

Along with the other duos mentioned above, the NBA is welcoming a new and balanced face lift for the upcoming season, granting more fans hope that their hometown team can go all the way.

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