NBA

Jimmy Butler Dwyane Wade.

Three major new partnerships that have to succeed next season

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Every offseason in the NBA, there are plenty of changes to talk about. As general managers try to trade and draft their way into a contender there are plenty of gambles, comebacks and shock moves to shake things up.

Kevin Durant is, without a doubt, under the most pressure to succeed following his move from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Golden State Warriors in free agency.

He's not only forming a new partnership with one man, he's trying to fit in with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green in the most potent offence in the NBA.

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Coming off a record-setting 73-win season, the Warriors looks primed to contend again at the very least, essentially trading Harrison Barnes out for the 2014 MVP.

But what other moves around the league come with big expectations, or, in most cases, hope?

Russell Westbrook & Victor Oladipo

In the wake of KD's shocking departure, the Thunder made a pre-emptive move in an attempt to regroup.

Shot-blocking supremo Serge Ibaka was traded to the Magic in exchange for Victor Oladipo, along with Ersan İlyasova and the draft rights to Domantas Sabonis.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Golden State Warriors - Game Seven

Having only played three years in the league, Oladipo has averages of 15.9 points, 4.4 boards and 4 assists a game. The 24-year-old is one of the best pure athletes in the league and his sheer athleticism underpins his talents on defence and offence.

Whether it's driving dunks or lock-down defending, Oladipo is an exciting player to watch. Partnering him with, arguably, the most exciting point guard in the NBA in Russell Westbrook could be a stroke of genius.

You won't find a more explosive, determined pair in the NBA. But, how far can the duo carry the Thunder in a post-Durant world?

Dwyane Wade & Jimmy Butler

This pairing should technically include Rajon Rondo, because it is super intriguing how coach Fred Hoiberg is going to make the three backcourt superstars work.

Butler has been publicly heralded as the leader of this Bulls team by his older and more accomplished aforementioned teammates, for what that's worth.

Chicago Bulls v Miami Heat

Wade, like Butler, is a shooting guard by trade and Rondo is an out-and-out playmaker at the one spot. One would think that means Wade is set to share some minutes with Butler at the two, but that doesn't appear to be the plan.

Wade, a three-time NBA champion and now 34-years-old, has returned home to Chicago and he certainly isn't treating it like a retirement home. In all likelihood, Butler will move to the three spot and Wade shall play the two, but with both men pretty ball-happy, will it be another Derrick Rose/Butler scenario?

Tom Thibodeau and Karl-Anthony Towns

This might not be an on-court partnership, but it's a vital relationship all the same.

There is a reason Tom Thibodeau was hired to the Minnesota Timberwolves and, effectively, given the keys to the kingdom.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Houston Rockets

His work in Chicago was stellar. He helped Rose become the youngest ever MVP award-winner at 22 and moulded a Bulls unit into a viable contender for the fist time in around 15 years.

If he could guide a young Rose to those heights, what can he do with Karl-Anthony Towns?

Even beyond the unanimous Rookie of the Year winner, Thibo could have a great effect on the trajectories of Zach LaVine and Andrew Wiggins, too.

Sprite Slam Dunk Contest 2015

With all the young talent they possess, there was no better coach the Timberwolves could have hired than Thibodeau.

But, the crown jewel is Towns. After an electric rookie campaign, KAT looks like he could be the most dominant and talented big man since Shaquille O'Neal. Nobody can help him fulfill his potential more than a nurturing Thibodeau.

Topics:
NBA
Dwyane Wade
Miami Heat
Southeast Division
Eastern Conference
Kevin Durant
Oklahoma City Thunder
Northwest Division
Western Conference

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