As if Steven Adams and the Oklahoma City Thunder's road to an NBA championship wasn't already tough enough, they'll now have to get through LeBron James.
With the four-time league MVP leaving the Eastern Conference behind by joining the Los Angeles Lakers, the Western Conference has become even more of a minefield to navigate.
Adding the task of beating James to that of getting past 'superteams' such as the Golden State Warriors is a big challenge, but it's a challenge the big Kiwi was more than happy to accept.
"It doesn't mean that the East is bad, it's just different," Adams said of the strength of the Western Conference. "NBA teams are good regardless. They could beat you on any given night, you still have to show up and play. It should be fun though, our conference should be fun.
"[Superteams] are not unbeatable, it's just really tough to beat them – it's a really tough challenge. I'm not saying that you can not beat a superteam, you just have to do everything a lot more perfectly."
James' addition to the Western Conference means all active players who have been named league MVP line up in the West – James in L.A., Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant with the Warriors, James Harden in Houston, Derrick Rose in Minnesota, Dirk Nowitzki in Dallas, and Russell Westbrook in OKC.
With Westbrook and fellow OKC star Paul George making long term commitments to stay with the Thunder, Adams was confident his side were up to the task they'll face in the season ahead.
"It's not just them. Yes, obviously they're terrific players, very skilled, yada yada yada, but it's the consistency of the team. They're two players on the team, there's 15 players.
"Having the same core guys helps a lot, especially with culture building, whenever a new guy comes in you can get them up to date faster, so it helps a lot. But not just them two, but having guys like Jerami (Grant), Pat Patterson, and guys like that."
While the majority of the Thunder remained with the team through all the offseason player movement, former All Star forward Carmelo Anthony moved on – signing a one-year deal in Houston.
While many pundits saw Anthony as a weakness in the Thunder's campaign last season, the 25-year-old centre, who was in New Zealand this week hosting his annual youth camps, said he was a loss to the franchise.
"He's a good player and he was a good dude as well, a good locker room dude so it's sad to see him go, but that's the way of the game."