The Golden State Warriors are looking to add another title to their era-defining dynasty, the Boston Celtics are aiming to bounce back from a disappointing Finals performance and LeBron James is aiming for the scoring title as the 2022-23 NBA season begins this week.
A Warriors team famous for their unity saw that tested when veteran forward Draymond Green punched Jordan Poole in the face during practice earlier this month, an incident for which he apologized.
The idea that the altercation could cause lasting damage to team chemistry quickly dissipated when Poole signed a four-year extension on Saturday worth up to $140 million. Green, a four-time All-Star, was fined but not suspended for the incident.
“He apologized and was professional,” Poole told reporters Sunday at the Chase Center, where the Warriors will raise their fourth championship banner in eight seasons on Tuesday before facing the Lakers, live on Sky Sports.
“We plan to behave this way…that’s really all I have to say about it. We are here to win a championship and keep hanging banners.”
The champions are about to find out if the fight will be too much for even this tight-knit group of stars to overcome. Golden State will be among the favorites to reach its seventh NBA Finals in nine years, although head coach Steve Kerr warns its historic harvest may not be immediately launched at the start of the season.
“I don’t think we’re ready for our top five or six players to play more than 30 minutes a night,” Kerr admitted. “So we have to rely on our depth, not just on opening night, but probably the first two weeks. And that’s fine. I think we have a really deep team. So we will get there eventually.”
The Warriors weren’t the only ones to face unexpected setbacks during the turbulent offseason, with Celtics head coach Ime Udoka being suspended for a year in September for “violating team policies”.
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Interim head coach Joe Mazzulla will now take the reins of the team led by Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown, who were two wins away from delivering the legendary franchise its 18th championship in June.
Lakers are hungry after missing the playoffs
All eyes will also be on the Los Angeles Lakers and James, who is 1,326 points away from passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the league’s all-time leading scorer – something he’s expected to do around Game 49. of the season.
James, 37, is entering his 20th season and is coming off a campaign where he averaged 30.3 points per game, the second-highest of his career despite the Lakers missing the playoffs.
“It’s the start of a long journey that you hope for and the start of the marathon,” James said ahead of the new season. “Everyone is trying to improve throughout the season, that’s for sure.
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The Lakers will be without Dennis Schroder for the first few weeks of the campaign, with the guard undergoing a procedure to repair ligament damage in that thumb.
“My motivation is built in to turn it around and have a much better year than what happened last year,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. “So congratulations to the Warriors, last year’s champions, but this year is a brand new season and we’re hungry. We also have a chip on our shoulder.”
Sky Sports will remain the NBA’s UK and Ireland headquarters for the 2022-23 season. Watch the Philadelphia 76ers at the Boston Celtics, then the LA Lakers at the Golden State Warriors, live on Sky Sports Arena and Sky Sports Main Event Wednesday from 12:30 a.m.