They still have their superstar core of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson and are favored to repeat as champions. But the West will be tougher with the Thunder and Rockets adding stars.
ANTHONY & GEORGE
Carmelo Anthony left a rebuilding situation with the Knicks to join Oklahoma City and chase a ring with reigning NBA MVP Russell Westbrook and Paul George, acquired from the Pacers. But will Westbrook and his new teammates be enough to topple the NBA champion Warriors?
The Celtics went through a remarkable transformation, trading for Kyrie Irving, signing Gordon Hayward in free agency and drafting Jayson Tatum. Boston appears on a collision course with the Cavaliers for East supremacy.
LAST STAND IN CLEVELAND?
LeBron James will make another run at a title as the Cavs brought in Isaiah Thomas, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose and Jae Crowder to help. But if James doesn’t win it this season, will he leave in free agency next summer?
The Rockets got James Harden some much-needed help by acquiring All-Star point guard Chris Paul. There’s no doubt the Rockets will be fun to watch with coach Mike D’Antoni, Harden and Paul. But do they have enough star power to win the West?
PLAYOFFS OR BUST
The Timberwolves brought in All-Star Jimmy Butler to reunite with Tom Thibodeau, and added veterans Jeff Teague and Taj Gibson to help young stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins get to the playoffs in the treacherous West.
Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball is among the most-hyped rookies in recent memory. He showed some nice flashes in summer league, but needs to show a lot more to convince prospective free agents to sign with the Lakers next summer.
SIXERS ON THE BRINK?
The 76ers are loaded with young talent. Markelle Fultz, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Dario Saric are an intriguing group if they all can stay healthy. They also added veterans J.J. Redick and Amir Johnson to try to grab a playoff spot in the East.
REST OF THE STORY
Teams resting healthy stars, especially during national TV games, became a hot-button issue last season. The NBA, however, put rules and penalties in place to prevent this from happening again. But will teams follow the rules?
The NBA, looking to reduce travel and keep players healthy, has eliminated four games in five days and has reduced back-to-back games in this season’s schedule. That’s why the regular season starts earlier, but the league is clearly thinking outside the box to make sure fans see the best players on the court on a regular basis.