LOS ANGELES – The Golden State Warriors will chase their fifth title since 2015 as the new NBA campaign kicks off Tuesday after one of the most tumultuous seasons in years.
The Warriors, who returned to the top of basketball in June with a Winning the NBA Finals series against the Boston Celtics, opened their title defense in San Francisco against the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Celtics, meanwhile, host the Philadelphia 76ers in another opening game of the 82-game regular season that will end next April.
The Warriors embarked on their campaign under a cloud of discontent in the dressing room.
The brand was thrown into turmoil earlier this month after it was reported that defensive star Draymond Green punched teammate Jordan Poole during the match.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr says the crisis is the biggest crisis of his reign as coach, and unifying the locker room after the controversy is his priority.
Meanwhile, the Warriors’ talisman, Steph Curry, helped broker clear negotiations between Green and Poole.
“How we handle this situation is important,” Curry said.
“The way Draymond reacts to the space he needs to get back in the right mindset to do the job, come in with the right energy, make it on the team – all of that matters.”
Off-season mayhem has been a feature of several franchises who are generally expected to challenge the Warriors this season.
The Celtics’ pre-season preparation has been affected by coach Ime Udoka’s suspension of a fantastic season last month.
Udoka, one of the NBA’s most talented coaches, has been suspended following reports of an improperly intimate relationship with a female employee.
The Brooklyn Nets, meanwhile, began the new campaign with uncertainty surrounding Kevin Durant’s condition.
Durant asked for a trade in June while US media reported that the 34-year-old, 12-time NBA All-Star had given team owner an ultimatum Joe Tsai – or fired Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks, or let him leave the club. .
The stalemate appeared to have been resolved in August when the Nets said Durant would stay with the team following negotiations with management.
“Families go through things like this,” Nash said in September. “You overcome adversity. You go through disagreements.”
Meanwhile, back in the Western Conference, the turmoil also affected one of Golden State’s biggest rivals, the Phoenix Suns.
Last year, the Suns ran away with the congress, putting together an impressive 64-18 record before once again reaching the knockout stages.
Their season has been overshadowed by team owner Robert Sarver after the league released the results of a 10-month investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct including sexual harassment. education and use of racially insensitive language.
Sarver was initially given a one-year ban and a $10 million fine, but later said he would sell to team and sister WNBA the Phoenix Mercury franchise.
Other franchises, meanwhile, have hit the reset button, revamping the listings with both long and short term.
The Utah Jazz – whose best run in the league two years ago – parted ways with coach Quin Snyder in June while forwards like Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell have been transferred.
The Los Angeles Lakers, meanwhile, hope to succeed under new coach Darvin Ham, who replaced the sacked Frank Vogel in June.
The Lakers hope 37-year-old LeBron James and Anthony Davis can stay fit throughout a grueling season schedule, while the arrivals of Germany’s Patrick Beverley and Dennis Schroder will help bolster a fragile defence.
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