OAKLAND -- Truth is, this China trip is going to be a monster. About 12 hours on a plane, into a time zone 15 hours ahead. When they get there, they'll have appearances and community events, in addition to practice and two games against the Los Angeles Lakers.
"We're not kidding anybody," Warriors forward David Lee said. "This is not going to be the easiest trip for us."
With that said, why is Lee excited? Why was there a spirited buzz after Warriors practice, their last on American soil for at least the next 10 days? The answer is in the opportunity this China trip presents.
The middle-of-training-camp trip to Asia affords the Warriors a chance to bond as a team. With potentially seven new players on the roster, Golden State is a month into its latest chemistry project. The hope is to recreate the magic of last season.
"One of the positives we can really bring out of this is to come together as a team," Lee said. "That's as important, in my opinion, as what we do on the court in this preseason. Because we saw it last year. We made the final four in the West and we didn't have one of the top four rosters in the West, talent-wise. We played together, and we had the best chemistry in the league. We need to repeat that this year."
The opportunities will be plenty. Friday at noon, the Warriors embark on the 6,000-mile journey. They land in Beijing on Saturday evening and will have a team dinner later that night. Sunday, after practice, they will make the trip to the Great Wall and later visit the Taijing Migrant School.
On Monday is a welcome reception and team dinner, and Tuesday is game day. After the game, the team flies to Shanghai. On Thursday, Fan Appreciation Day is being held at the Oriental Sports Center, which will include the players putting on a clinic for fans. Friday, they play the Lakers again before flying back home on Saturday.
Coach Mark Jackson said the life experience that will come from this trip is important. And the Warriors are going to experience it together.
"Any time you can experience that," Jackson said, "see how someone else does things, how they live, it's a learning tool. It's a great experience for us. I value it."
The Warriors are trying to extend their reach to the growing basketball market of China. It's a natural transition since the Bay Area boasts three of the top five Asian populations in the United States (San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland). Even two Chinese-American mayors preside in the region.
So the Warriors are not just preparing for the season, they are on a business trip.
They are ambassadors for the Golden State Warriors brand and the NBA. In more ways than one they are working together.
The hope is that all the peripheral happenings don't take away from the product on the court but make it click.
"I think this trip is going to be huge for our chemistry," Lee said. "We knew it would be a process, adding as many guys as we added. I think this trip, while it's going to be exhausting to go over there this time of year, it's great for team building. Because really, while we're over there, it's just us, our team. I think this will take us even further in the right direction."
Tuesday: vs. L.A. Lakers in Beijing, 4:30 a.m. NBA TV
Oct. 18: vs. L.A. Lakers in Shanghai, 4:30 a.m. NBA TV, (tape-delayed 7:30 p.m. CSNBA)