LA rivalry, Zion Williamson and China disputes – the big talking points before new NBA season

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Kawhi Leonard won an NBA title with the Toronto Raptors last season before moving to the Los Angeles Clippers in the summer

It has been a little over three months since the Toronto Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors 4-2 to win their first NBA title.

The Raptors, led by Finals Most Valuable Player Kawhi Leonard, prevented the Warriors from claiming their third straight title in the process.

Summer moves and draft picks followed as each of the 30 teams restocked to go again next season.

With the 2019-20 campaign beginning this week, BBC Sport looks at the big talking points before another NBA season.

Battle for LA

This season the two favourites for the NBA title share not just the city of Los Angeles, but the same building – the Staples Center.

The Lakers are basketball royalty, have LeBron “The King” James and added another of the league’s best players in Anthony Davis to their roster.

For the majority of their existence the Clippers would barely qualify as noisy neighbours; entering their 50th season, they have never reached a Conference Finals. The Lakers have won the whole thing 11 times in that period.

But that dynamic has shifted in the past decade, culminating in July when the Clippers pulled off a massive coup by persuading reigning Finals MVP Leonard to sign with them instead of the Lakers. Alongside Leonard, another superstar Paul George joined via a trade. They’re ready to win now.

The NBA have scheduled the LA pair to meet on the first night of the season – Tuesday in the US, Wednesday morning (03:30 BST) in the UK – and Christmas Day. Set your alarms.

After the Gold

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