NBA teams get back to work with injured stars returning
Summer is over in the NBA. Time to get back to work.
Guys like Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony probably can't wait. Their 2014-15 seasons were cut short by injury, and they are set to join their teammates on the court this week when training camps open.
Stephen Curry couldn't be blamed if he wanted more time.
It's been barely three months since his Golden State Warriors ended their 40-year title drought, not exactly a ton of time to plop down, put the feet up, recover from one nine-month grind and prepare for the next.
But he's ready to go.
''I would never complain about too short of a summer winning a championship,'' Curry said.
Most NBA teams report to camp Monday, though a few who are headed overseas for exhibition games got started late last week. After media day responsibilities Monday, they will begin practicing Tuesday - many teams doing it twice a day.
Durant, Bryant and Anthony will probably ease their way in after the former scoring champions had to shut it down early last season, though not everyone can afford to take it slow. The preseason exhibition opener is Friday when the Los Angeles Clippers face Denver, and Curry's Warriors will be practicing less than a week before they host Toronto in their first game.
They had one of the great seasons in NBA history, going 67-15 in Steve Kerr's first year as coach before beating LeBron James and Cleveland in the finals.
But it was only a year earlier they were out in the first round, so plenty of teams will arrive for work believing it's their turn to make the jump.
''Last year was Golden State's year,'' said Anthony Davis, whose Pelicans were swept by the Warriors in the first round and then hired Golden State assistant Alvin Gentry as their coach. ''They did what they had to do to win, they were the best team in the league.
''I think our thing, for my team, is just staying healthy. If we stay healthy, then we can beat anybody and compete with anybody, so that's our biggest thing. That's how we're approaching training camp.''
Some of the interesting teams to watch when camps open:
THUNDER: Durant will love being back from his broken foot and dread any time he has to talk about his impending free agency. Former Florida coach Billy Donovan is now running the show after refusing for years to make the jump from college.
LAKERS: Beyond beginning to develop a minutes limit for Bryant in his return from shoulder surgery, coach Byron Scott welcomes No. 2 pick D'Angelo Russell and offseason addition Roy Hibbert, and brings back Julius Randle after he broke his leg in last year's season opener.
SPURS: Prized free agent signings LaMarcus Aldridge and David West fortify the frontcourt alongside Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard, but keep an eye on the backcourt. Tony Parker didn't look sharp while playing for France in EuroBasket, so Gregg Popovich will want to find some time to rest his veteran point guard.
CAVALIERS: If Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love look fully recovered from their injuries in the postseason, it will calm Cavs fans worked up over the team's inability to work out a contract extension with Tristan Thompson yet.
KNICKS: Phil Jackson brought in plenty of newcomers to surround Anthony, who is returning from knee surgery, and he will be able to keep a close eye on them. The Knicks' president of basketball operations plans to spend more time around the coaching staff this season at the request of coach Derek Fisher.
BULLS: Tom Thibodeau is gone, but Chicago's injury woes didn't go with him. Fred Hoiberg will begin his NBA coaching career without starting forward Mike Dunleavy Jr., who is expected to miss at least eight weeks after back surgery.