After NBA teams spent the last decade trying to emulate the 2010 Heat’s “Big Three” approach to roster-building, those clubs didn’t necessarily move away from that strategy during the 2019 offseason. However, when the Lakers came up short in their effort to add Kawhi Leonard to their roster to complement LeBron James and Anthony Davis, it helped create a new storyline.
Rather than teaming up in threes this offseason, many of the NBA’s star players joined up with just one other All-Star, creating a handful of new dynamic duos around the league.
The Lakers acquired Davis – a perennial MVP candidate going forward – to team up with a four-time MVP in James.
In rebuffing the Lakers’ advances, Leonard – a two-time Finals MVP – headed to the Clippers, who also acquired Paul George – third in MVP voting last season – in a trade with Oklahoma City.
The Nets cleared enough cap room for two maximum-salary free agents, and used those slots to land Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, who have combined for a total of 16 All-Star berths, 11 All-NBA nods, and three championships.
The Rockets reunited a pair of former MVP winners when they struck a deal to land triple-double machine Russell Westbrook from Oklahoma City, adding him to a backcourt that already featured the league’s leading scorer, James Harden.
Even the Warriors got into the act after losing Durant, acquiring All-Star guard D’Angelo Russell in a sign-and-trade to share the backcourt with two-time MVP Stephen Curry to start the 2019/20 season.
Golden State has two more former All-NBA players in Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, and several other clubs around the league have their own dynamic duos, including Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum in Portland, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons in Philadelphia, and Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton in Milwaukee, among others.
Today though, we’re focusing on newly-formed pairings, so we want to know which of the five star duos listed above you’d most like to have on your roster moving forward.
We’re looking at both the short- and long-term here, so injuries like Durant’s Achilles tear should be taken into account — the fact that KD will likely miss all of next season negatively impacts Brooklyn’s duo, but we want you to consider the next few years, rather than just 2019/20.
Players’ contract situations and injury histories matter too — maybe the Clippers’ duo is slightly less appealing due to the fact that both players are only guaranteed to be around for the next two seasons, or because George is coming off two shoulder surgeries. Age is also a factor, since there’s no guarantee how many more All-NBA seasons a 34-year-old like LeBron has left.
With all that in mind, which newly-formed star duo do you like best going forward? Vote in our poll, then head to the comment section below to weigh in with your thoughts!
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