A look at the Pacific Division teams as they head into the 2013-14 season, in predicted order of finish:
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
LAST SEASON: 56-26, lost to Memphis Grizzlies 4-2 in first round.
STARTING FIVE: G Chris Paul (16.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 9.7 apg), G Willie Green (6.3 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 0.8 apg), F Blake Griffin (18.0 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 3.7 apg), F Jared Dudley (10.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg, apg), C DeAndre Jordan (8.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.4 bpg).
KEY ADDITIONS: G J.J. Redick (trade, Bucks), Dudley (trade, Suns), F Antawn Jamison (free agent, Lakers), C Byron Mullens (free agent, Bobcats), G Darren Collison (free agent, Mavericks), G Reggie Bullock (draft, No. 25).
KEY LOSSES: G Chauncey Billups (free agent, Rockets), G Eric Bledsoe (trade, Suns), F Caron Butler (trade, Suns), F Grant Hill (retired), F Lamar Odom (free agent), F Ronny Turiaf (free agent, Timberwolves).
COACH: Doc Rivers, first season with Clippers, 14th season overall; 587-473.
EYES ON: Rivers. Comes from the Celtics, where he guided them to the 2008 NBA title. Besides coaching the team, he serves as senior vice president of basketball operations, giving him much more power than his predecessor, Vinny Del Negro.
OUTLOOK: Have upgraded the talent surrounding Paul, Griffin and Jordan, the team's big three who are young and explosive. Rivers is vocal about the Clippers having the talent to get to the NBA Finals, even though they've never been past the second round in franchise history. Look for Rivers to coax more out of Griffin in the post and keep Jordan on the court in the fourth quarter.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
LAST SEASON: 47-35, lost to San Antonio Spurs 4-2 in second round.
STARTING FIVE: G Stephen Curry (22.9 ppg, 6.9 apg, 4.0 rpg), G Andre Iguodala (13.0 ppg, 5.4 apg, 5.3 rpg), F Harrison Barnes (9.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.2 apg), F David Lee (18.5 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 3.5 apg), C Andrew Bogut (5.8 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.7 bpg).
KEY ADDITIONS: SG/SF Iguodala (free agent, Nuggets), C Jermaine O'Neal (free agent, Suns), PF Marreese Speights (free agent, Cavaliers), G Toney Douglas (free agent, Kings).
KEY LOSSES: G Jarrett Jack (free agent, Cavaliers), PF Carl Landry (free agent, Kings).
COACH: Mark Jackson, third season, 70-78.
EYES ON: Iguodala. The All-Star swingman signed a four-year, $48 million deal with Golden State after leading Denver to a franchise-record 57 wins last season before the Nuggets lost to the Warriors in the first round. He gives Golden State another ballhander late in games to ease the pressure on prolific shooter Curry, who set the NBA record with 272 made 3-pointers last season. But Iguodala's addition also forces the Warriors to find a new rotation, with Klay Thompson or Barnes set to come off the bench after starting every game they played last season.
OUTLOOK: The Warriors showed in the playoffs last season that, if healthy, they have enough talent to contend for a Western Conference title. Health, however, remains a huge concern. Curry avoided major ankle injuries until the playoffs last season, and Bogut battled a left ankle injury all year. If they can hold up through the marathon season, there's no telling how far the Warriors could go.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS
LAST SEASON: 45-37, lost to San Antonio Spurs 4-0 in first round.
STARTING FIVE: G Steve Nash (12.7 ppg, 6.7 apg, 2.8 rpg), G-F Kobe Bryant (27.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 6.0 apg), G-F Nick Young (10.6 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.4 apg), F Jordan Hill (6.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 0.4 apg), C Pau Gasol (13.7 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 4.1 apg).
KEY ADDITIONS: G-F Young (free agent, 76ers), C Chris Kaman (free agent, Mavericks), G Jordan Farmar (free agent, Turkey), F Wesley Johnson (free agent, Suns).
KEY LOSSES: C Dwight Howard (free agent, Rockets), F Metta World Peace (amnesty, Knicks), F Antawn Jamison (free agent, Clippers), F Earl Clark (free agent, Cavaliers),
COACH: Mike D'Antoni, second season with Lakers, 12th season overall; 428-371.
EYES ON: Gasol. After Howard bolted for less money in Houston, the Lakers fell back on the 7-foot Spaniard with two championship rings and an endless willingness to play any role to help the club. The Lakers need him to be an All-Star caliber big man again to have any hope of contending for a playoff spot in the West, particularly with Bryant coming back slowly from his torn Achilles tendon and the 39-year-old Nash attempting to stay healthy for a full year. Oh, and Gasol is also playing for his next contract.
OUTLOOK: There's no championship talk around the Lakers this year, but a roster with three likely Hall of Famers and an eager supporting cast should be in the playoff hunt as the Lakers ramp up to next summer, when they'll have oodles of cap space.
LAST SEASON: 28-54, missed playoffs.
STARTING FIVE: G Greivis Vasquez (13.9 ppg, 9.0 apg, 4.3 rpg), G Ben McLemore (rookie), F John Salmons (8.8 ppg, 3.0 apg, 2.7 rpg), F Patrick Patterson (8.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.3 apg), C DeMarcus Cousins (17.1 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 2.7 apg).
KEY ADDITIONS: Vasquez (trade, Pelicans), PF Carl Landry (free agent, Warriors),
SF Luc Mbah a Moute (trade, Bucks).
KEY LOSSES: SG Tyreke Evans (trade, Pelicans).
COACH: Mike Malone, first season.
EYES ON: Cousins. New owner Vivek Ranadive's first major move was making Cousins the franchise player by signing him to four-year, $62 million extension. The 23-year-old center has been one of the NBA's best young big men but also one who has drawn multiple suspensions from the NBA and the Kings for his behavior. The Kings are counting on Cousins to keep his cool and show he can lead the franchise's new era.
OUTLOOK: The chemistry on the court should be better under Malone, if for no other reason than it can't be worse than last season. Making the playoffs for the first time in eight years still seems out of reach in the deep Western Conference. For now, fans are just happy the team didn't move to Seattle and appears to be on firm footing again.
LAST SEASON: 25-57, missed playoffs.
STARTING FIVE: G Goran Dragic (14.7 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 7.4 apg), G Eric Bledsoe (8.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.1 apg for Los Angeles Clippers), F P.J. Tucker (6.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.4 apg), F Markieff Morris (8.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.3 apg), C Marcin Gortat (11.1 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 1.2 apg).
KEY ADDITIONS: G Bledsoe (trade, Clippers), F Gerald Green (trade, Pacers), F-C Miles Plumlee (trade, Pacers), C Alex Len (draft, No. 5), G Archie Goodwin (draft, No. 29).
KEY LOSSES: G Jared Dudley (trade, Clippers), F Luis Scola (trade, Pacers), F Michael Beasley (released by team, contract buyout agreement), C Jermaine O'Neal (free agent, Warriors), G Wesley Johnson (free agent, Lakers).
COACH: Jeff Hornacek, first season.
EYES ON: A young lineup where the playing rotation is fluid, to say the least. Hornacek plans to start both point guards, Dragic and Bledsoe. Hornacek wants a fast pace and the two playmakers are arguably the best players on the team. There's uncertainty at both forward spots and the center Gortat could be bait for a trade as the Suns continue their roster overhaul.
OUTLOOK: New general manager Ryan McDonough has overhauled the roster of a team that compiled the second-worst record in franchise history. But the turnaround will be slow as the personable Hornacek, in his first head coaching job, finds himself in the teaching mode throughout what could be a long season. A bright spot is the return of Channing Frye, who surprised himself with his quick return to game action from a heart illness. Now it looks like Frye will be able to play in the opener.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Buffalo Police have arrested 26-year-old Nicholas Finnegan of South Buffalo and charged him with pushing Russ Ross to his death.
The Niagara County Sheriff's responded to Saunders Settlement Road near Comstock in Cambria Friday night after receiving a tip about a suspected meth lab.
Police say there were 32 burglaries, 20 in Albion, five in Medina, four in Oakfield and three in the City of Lockport.
Firefighters had to withdraw from a smoky fire in Blasdell at a multi-dwelling home on South Park Avenue Friday night because the flames were so intense.
Call 4 Action looked into claims this week that members of BJ's Wholesale Club were paying too much on sales tax on some deeply discounted items.
State Police in Pennsylvania are investigating an alleged pedophile pastor already facing charges in Western New York.