As it stands now, four of the five Southwest Division teams would make the playoffs, with the league-owned Hornets the only exception. Still, only the Spurs seem assured of a spot, as the Mavs, Grizzlies and Rockets are all no more than two games above the Suns, who are occupy ninth place in the Western Conference. Here's the latest from the Southwest:
- Courtney Lee of the Rockets will be a restricted free agent this summer, and with Kevin Martin out, he's getting a chance to show teams he can handle the starting shooting guard spot, as Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes.
- The Hornets acquired Al-Farouq Aminu and Jason Smith before the season, and are committed to both through 2012/13. Neither has provided much of a lift this season, but Jim Eichenhofer of Hornets.com points to some encouraging numbers for both of them (Twitter links).
- Kobe Bryant has some advice on how to coach Lamar Odom and also suggested he may recruit the free agent to return to the Lakers this summer, but Mavs coach Rick Carlisle isn't paying much attention to what Bryant has to say, notes HoopsWorld's Derek Page.
- Randy Galloway of the Fort Worth Star Telegram isn't optimistic the struggling Odom will be able to turn it around.