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Old Faces in New Places: NBA 2019-20

Rob Joyce
October 01, 2019 - 12:01 pm
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It seems like we say this every summer, but it was as dramatic an NBA offseason as we’ve ever seen. Players signed free agent deals all over the league, others forced trades, and some of the biggest names in the game will wear a new uniform this season.

With preseason games starting this weekend, are you all caught up on the movement? Here are the most notable figures on new teams this upcoming season:

Anthony Davis:

(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

After requesting a trade from New Orleans mid-season, Davis’ wish was granted this offseason, when he was shipped to Los Angeles for a small fortune. The three-time All-NBA performer is now a Laker for the cost of three first-round picks, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and Brandon Ingram. Davis will immediately form one of the best one-two combos in the league with LeBron James, but with just one year left on his deal, will it last beyond 2020?

Kawhi Leonard:

(Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images)

He’ll forever be a hero in Toronto, but Leonard only stuck around for one season. He won’t defend the Raptors’ title after he declined his player option and became a free agent. He, too, will head to the Staples Center, but for the other tenant in the Clippers after signing a three-year, $103 million deal, with an opt-out after 2021. Of course, in today’s NBA he wouldn’t join a new team without the chance of a title. That went a long way when he got a new teammate in a reigning All-NBA First Teamer...

Paul George:

(Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images)

Before free agency started last year, George showed his commitment to Oklahoma City by signing a four-year max contract. That pledge barely lasted a calendar year, as he demanded a trade to the Clippers in July. Though surprising, the Thunder at least received a haul in return: unprotected first round picks in 2021, 2022, 2024 and 2026, another protected first-rounder, pick swaps in 2023 and 2025, and oh yeah, a couple of actual human beings in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari.

That was one of two trades the Thunder made this offseason that indicated the times are changing in OKC.

Russell Westbrook:

(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

The other involved franchise cornerstone Westbrook. Once George was dealt it was clear the franchise was ready to rebuild, meaning it was time to move their eight-time All-Star and former league MVP. For the cost of another future Hall of Fame point guard, two first round picks and draft considerations Westbrook is now in Houston, where he will once again join forces with James Harden as the Rockets gain a valuable piece in the Western Conference arms race.

Chris Paul:

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The aforementioned future point guard is the biggest loser in all of these trades. He goes from a title contender to a team that’s in the infant stages of a rebuild. At age 34 Paul is past the prime of his career, having missed 69 regular season games the past three years and still has three years on a max deal. With a big contract that’s largely unmovable to a contender, he’s stuck near the bottom of the West.

Kevin Durant:

(Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

The Western Conference – vastly superior to the East for a number of years now – went through a lot of change. The East, however, did undergo some massive upgrades as well, none bigger than the Nets. Though Durant will miss the entire year with that Achilles tear suffered in the Finals, the two-time Finals MVP leaves Golden State via a sign-and-trade that sent D’Angelo Russell to the Warriors. There is some risk involved, considering he’ll be 32 and coming off a major injury when he returns, but he has some help in the form of another perennial All-Star.

Kyrie Irving:

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

His time in Boston came to an end, a merciful outcome for all parties after the relationship just didn’t work out. Irving instead joins KD in Brooklyn after signing a max deal. This year it’s obviously Irving’s team as Brooklyn is expected to take another leap forward. But all eyes will be on the 2020-21 season, when we’ll see the Irving-Durant duo in full force.

Kemba Walker:

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Out goes one All-Star scoring point guard, in comes another for the Celtics. After becoming a three-time All-Star on a mediocre Charlotte team (the Hornets won more than 40 games just twice in his eight seasons), Walker signed a max deal with Eastern Conference contender Boston. With four straight winning seasons and two budding young starts in Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum – not to mention a healthy Gordon Hayward – the former UConn star goes from treading water in Charlotte to competing for a title.

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