The Northwest Division is home to five playoff contenders, but it could boast only one playoff team in the end. The last-place Blazers are within three and a half games of the final postseason berth, but if the playoffs began today, only the first-place Thunder and the Nuggets, who would be the No. 7 seed, would qualify. Here's the buzz from around the Northwest:
- While a report came out earlier today suggesting Kings GM Geoff Petrie was about to sign a new deal with the team, co-owner Gavin Maloof said that's not the case, according to Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee. In a separate story, Jones passes along that Petrie says his job status for next season is the "last thing on my mind."
- The discovery of a torn LCL will not affect the timetable of Ricky Rubio's return, according to an Associated Press story published on ESPN.com. The six to nine month timetable, however, suggests Rubio may not be ready for the start of next season. However, Wolves GM David Kahn is optimistic he'll recover in time for 2012/13.
- In a Q&A with Brendan Bowers of Slam magazine (hat tip to Ben Golliver of Blazer's Edge), Jamal Crawford says he was surprised he wasn't among the exodus at the trade deadline in Portland. Crawford also asserts he had nothing to do with any uprising against former coach Nate McMillan, citing a connection that dates back to when Crawford was 16 years old.