The race for the final playoff spot(s) in the Western Conference will continue tonight, when the Lakers play the Bucks in Milwaukee and the Mavericks host the Pacers in Dallas. As we look forward to those games, let's round up a few Thursday items out of the conference….
- Tony Allen is headed for unrestricted free agency this summer, and at least one Eastern Conference general manager thinks Allen will receive a modest raise. "Three years at $4MM per year sounds right," the GM tells Chris Mannix of SI.com. "He adds instant toughness and a defensive mentality to your team. He's a leader on the floor and he isn't going to back down from anyone. I think everyone in the league would love to have him." The Grizzlies have no interest in approaching luxury-tax territory, so it's unclear if they'll be able to bring back Allen.
- Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com believes that both Los Angeles head coaches, Mike D'Antoni and Vinny Del Negro, could be on the outs with the Lakers and Clippers respectively if they don't finish the season strong.
- With Metta World Peace expected to miss six weeks after undergoing surgery on his left knee, Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News wonders if the veteran forward has played his last game with the Lakers.
- Terrel Harris' new deal with the Hornets includes an second year that will become guaranteed if Harris makes the team's 2013/14 roster, reports Sam Amick of USA Today.
- Nuggets coach George Karl tells Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post that he thinks Gregg Popovich would be interested in the Team USA head coaching position, and that Popovich would be a great choice for the job.