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Warriors set to chase 3rd straight title

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) With unsettled contract situations making many of the players' futures beyond this season uncertain, Warriors coach Steve Kerr is encouraging his team now more than ever to go with the flow, have fun and enjoy the moment.

No pressure, even if the end goal is a three-peat.

Two-time reigning NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant signed a one-plus-one contract that allows him to become a free agent again next summer, while fellow All-Stars Draymond Green and Klay Thompson could be up for extensions.

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Lakers already loving James' leadership

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) Although the Lakers' first official practice of the LeBron James era was focused on defense and learning new terminology, they ended it with a good old-fashioned 3-point shooting contest.

The Lakers' new superstar was just another teammate during the spirited back-and-forth competition Tuesday. When James wasn't draining his own 3s, he marveled along with everybody else at the surprising perimeter prowess shown by JaVale McGee, the 7-foot veteran with exactly one 3-pointer during a game in his 10-year NBA career.

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Wolves taking trade offers for Butler

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The Minnesota Timberwolves have started their 30th season amid more drama and dysfunction, an all-too-familiar feeling.

Jimmy Butler, the four-time All-Star shooting guard whose heralded arrival from Chicago sparked a 16-win improvement and an end to a 13-year absence from the playoffs, told president of basketball operations and head coach Tom Thibodeau last week he wants to be traded and won't re-sign with the team.

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Cousins set to begin noncontact work

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) DeMarcus Cousins has progressed in his recovery from surgery for a torn left Achilles tendon and is doing light shooting and other skill work on the court and will be able to do some noncontact work as the Warriors' training camp begins.

Golden State general manager Bob Myers said anyone who thinks the two-time defending champions plan to "save DeMarcus for the playoffs, I think that's inaccurate, when he can play he'll play."

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Leonard said he's physically set to play

TORONTO (AP) Kawhi Leonard spoke publicly in his first appearance as a Toronto Raptor and said he is physically ready to play.

Leonard joined the Raptors in a summertime blockbuster trade with the San Antonio Spurs. How long he stays in Toronto is unclear but the former NBA Finals MVP and two-time defensive player of the year who was limited to nine games last season because of a right quadriceps injury insists he is ready to go as the team gets ready for training camp in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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Popovich, DeRozan ready to move forward

SAN ANTONIO (AP) DeMar DeRozan's first month with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has been serene, though the All-Star guard acquired in the offseason from Toronto has been warned about provoking "angry Pop."

"That hurts me," Popovich said playfully. "I just, just . it hurts me. Our relationship is not starting off well, I guess. I guess I have more work to do than I thought."

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Rockets hope Anthony can provide boost

HOUSTON (AP) Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta didn't waste any time telling Carmelo Anthony why he wanted him on his team.

"I'll tell you exactly what I told him," Fertitta said Monday. "`We couldn't win a championship without you last year. And if we win a championship with you this year you're going to be the guy that got us over there. So, it's all up to you.'"

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Celtics embracing high expectations

CANTON, Mass. (AP) Last summer, new Boston Celtics arrivals Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward beamed just imagining what it would be like to share the court together.

Those dreams lasted all of five minutes before Hayward was lost for the season to a gruesome leg injury on the opening night of the season.

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Pacers out to show last season no fluke

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Indiana point guard Darren Collison made his position clear: The Pacers haven't done anything yet.

Sure, they surprised everyone last season by posting a winning record, making the playoffs and forcing eventual Eastern Conference champion Cleveland to a seven-game series. They also think others around the league believe it could have been a fluke.

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No timetable for Porzingis' return

GREENBURGH, N.Y. (AP) Kristaps Porzingis is a one-of-a-kind player, a 7-foot-3 package strong enough to pound in the paint but with plenty of speed and shooting to play on the perimeter.

That's ideal for the basketball court.

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