Here's the latest from around the Western Conference, where the Lakers are three games back of the Rockets for the eighth seed and three and a half back of the seventh-place Jazz:
- Although his plan was being openly questioned in NBA circles eight months ago, GM Daryl Morey continues to build the Rockets into a team with strong long-term potential, observes Grantland's Zach Lowe. Within his piece, Lowe writes that Morey and assistant coach Kelvin Sampson were both fixated on acquiring James Harden, and that the team would like to add a defense-first wing to the roster.
- The Clippers were "closer than people think" to acquiring Kevin Garnett for Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan last week, a source tells Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports.
- Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News questions whether the Mavericks ought to try to build a team around Dwight Howard, even if the All-Star center is willing to sign in Dallas this summer.
- Although Dirk Nowitzki indicated recently that he hopes to play for a few more years, his focus for now is more on the short term, as he tells Jeff Caplan of NBA.com. "[Mark Cuban]’s obviously said his bank’s open, so we’ll see what happens this summer," Nowitzki said. "It’s going to be a big summer for us. We want to get back to winning ways. We always competed and were part of the playoffs, so we’ll see what happens this summer. It’s going to be a big summer for this franchise."
- The Thunder decided to bring back Derek Fisher for the stretch run because they know exactly what they're getting in the veteran point guard, writes Susan Bible of HoopsWorld.