For a third consecutive year, there aren't any Pacific Division teams in the Western Conference Finals, a dry spell that's never happened before. The Lakers are mostly responsible for that history of success, but the Suns have had their moments, too. For most of the city's time with an NBA team, Seattle was a part of the Pacific Division, and the SuperSonics were no stranger to playing for a berth in the Finals. With the league reportedly having approved the sale of the Kings to a Sacramento-based group, it looks like Seattle won't be an NBA destination for at least a while longer.
Here's a check on each of the five current Pacific Division teams as they try to climb their way back into contention:
A day after criticizing Pau Gasol, coach Mike D'Antoni was quick to reaffirm his support for the big man Saturday after the Lakers blew out the Mavs, as Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times chronicles. Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register notes the 7'0" Spaniard has also been slowed by tendinitis in his knees. The Gasol situation bears watching, but after his 13-point, nine-rebound performance last night, it doesn't seem like there's too much wrong with him or his fit on the team. There's more on the purple and gold, and we'll round it up here:
According to Mike Trudell of Lakers.com (Twitter link), the Lakers "really liked" Douglas-Roberts, but even after releasing Ronnie Aguilar and Reeves Nelson, the team still had 18 players under contract, meaning at least three more players had to be cut.
Los Angeles' roster count now stands at 16, including three players on non-guaranteed deals: Robert Sacre, Andrew Goudelock, and Darius Johnson-Odom. The Lakers will cut at least one more of those guys, and perhaps two, if the team prefers to keep a roster spot free rather than carrying the maximum 15 players.
THURSDAY, 8:12am: Somogyi's deal with the Lakers is non-guaranteed, confirms Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times.
WEDNESDAY, 6:21pm: In addition to adding former UCLA forward Reeves Nelson, the Lakers have signed undrafted rookie Greg Somogyi, according to Mike Trudell of Lakers.com (via Twitter). Both players were part of the Lakers' Summer League roster in Las Vegas.
Somogyi, who will turn 23 next month, never received more than limited minutes in his four years at UC Santa Barbara. The 7'3" center averaged 3.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks in 11.8 minutes per contest in his senior year before going undrafted this June.
Terms of Somogyi's deal weren't released, but I imagine the contract includes a partial guarantee at best. The big man will receive an invite to camp and should get a chance to earn a spot in a frontcourt that will include Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Antawn Jamison, Jordan Hill, and Earl Clark.