N.B.A. Season Preview: Injuries and Drama Are the Wild Cards

Newly healthy stars and rising young players could shift the power dynamics in both conferences. But if the Nets and the Lakers can recover from off-season drama, they may be the teams to beat.

Credit…Photo illustration by Dakarai Akil; photographs via Getty Images

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By Scott Cacciola, Sopan Deb, Tania Ganguli, Dorothy J. Gentry, Victor Mather and Kris Rhim

Even for a league used to drama and headlines, the N.B.A. had a dizzying off-season.

There were trade requests (Kevin Durant) and trade rumors (Russell Westbrook); injuries (Chet Holmgren) and returns (Zion Williamson). The power structure of the Western Conference could be upended by the return of Kawhi Leonard with the Clippers; the power structure of the East is again unclear.

And a series of scandals at Boston, Phoenix and Golden State could have lasting implications for the league.

In short: A lot is going on.


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