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Welcome to camp: NBA teams starting their new seasons

/ 02:48 PM September 25, 2018

Houston Rockets’ James Harden (13) yells for the camera during media day Monday, Sept. 24, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

There were some Larry O’Brien trophies on display at Golden State’s media day on Monday, shiny golden reminders of the three championships that the Warriors have picked up over the past four years.

Their quest for another is about to begin.

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So will the quest by 29 other teams to thwart them.

The offseason is over in the NBA. Most teams held media day Monday, the prelude to the start of training camps. And just like last year, those camps — from Hawaii to British Columbia to Massachusetts and 27 other spots in between — will begin with the Warriors reigning over the league and everyone else pining to get on Golden State’s level.

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“We’ve got a long way to go to get to Golden State,” said LeBron James, who left Cleveland — and what became an annual date with Golden State in the finals — for the Los Angeles Lakers over the summer. “They can pick up right where they left off … we’re picking up from scratch. So we have a long way to go. We can’t worry about what Golden State is doing. Golden State is Golden State and they’re the champions.”

With the exception of Dallas and Philadelphia, who were permitted to start camp early because they’re headed to China for preseason games, every NBA club holds its first practice of the season on Tuesday. The Los Angeles Clippers are going to Hawaii, Denver is headed to San Diego, Toronto is setting up camp a few miles outside of Vancouver.

Whether they’re going on the road or staying home, the goal for every club — the Warriors included — is the same: Be better.

“There’s one team that’s figured it out, all right?” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Golden State has figured it out. They have the template right now. Everybody else is just trying to figure it out. Some people think they have a better track at it than others. Prove it. That’s the whole point of this association. It’s competition and you’ve got to prove it.”

Warriors guard Stephen Curry said he was eager for media day, calling it “the official start to another season.”

“Excited to get back to work, get the guys back together. Look forward to chasing another championship,” Curry said in a video posted to the Warriors’ social media channels.

James made his debut in a Lakers uniform out in Los Angeles. In Toronto and San Antonio, new Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard and new Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan talked about the summertime blockbuster that saw them changing jerseys. Up in Boston, Gordon Hayward talked about how he’s finally been able to play 5-on-5 again in recent weeks after his first season with the Celtics ended with a horrific leg injury on opening night.

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“There’s nothing like playing basketball,” Hayward said. “There’s nothing like in-game stuff that you can’t get from drills.”

Preseason games start Friday, with Boston going to Chapel Hill, North Carolina and set to face Charlotte. The Hornets are training in Chapel Hill, which undoubtedly pleases team owner — and Tar Heels legend — Michael Jordan. That same night, Philadelphia plays Australian club Melbourne United.

Those are the first two of 79 preseason games on the calendar, running through Oct. 12.

And then on Oct. 16, it begins for real with Philadelphia visiting Boston and Oklahoma City headed to Golden State — the night when the Warriors will pick up their latest championship rings.

“The excitement that I have right now to get this thing rolling and get on out to training camp, it’s unbelievable,” said Carmelo Anthony, who signed with Houston this summer in an effort to push the Rockets over the top in the Western Conference. “Big shoutout to the fans. You guys won’t be disappointed this year.”

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TAGS: Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Lebron James, Los Angeles Lakers, Media Day, NBA, offseason, Training Camp
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