California has four of the 30 NBA teams, but all of the attention has been on the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors.
As the Lakers are one of the greatest sports franchises, the Warriors are looking to win their fourth championship in five consecutive NBA Finals appearances.
With LeBron James signing a four-year, $154 million contract with the Lakers in free agency, a rivalry could be brewing with four regular season and playoff games.
For Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, it will be the first time both teams have talent and he is looking forward to the potential rivalry, according to Nick Fridell of ESPN:
“This is probably the first time it’s lined up,” Kerr said after Tuesday’s practice. “Did Sleepy Floyd get his 29 against the Lakers in one quarter? That would probably be the biggest moment. So for Warriors fans that’s probably the biggest moment of the Laker-Warrior rivalry. I’m sure the Lakers never really looked at it as a rivalry all those years when they were dominating, but this will be fun. We’re in the same division, obviously both teams have a lot of talent and the atmosphere is going to be great. Even in the preseason, I think people are going to be really looking forward to it.”
Along with James finishing with a 1-3 record against the Warriors in the NBA Finals, head coach Luke Walton is a former Warriors assistant coach who led them to a 39-4 record during the 2015-16 NBA season.
While the Warriors are favorites to win another championship, the Lakers are in position for sustained success. With the best player in the league today and a developing young core, they will have $38 million in cap space for 2019 free agency which should feature the likes of Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, among others.
Although it appears Thompson is set on re-signing with the Warriors, there are conflicting reports about Durant’s future in Oakland.
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