Western Rumors: Grizzlies, Johnson, Smith, Kings

The Spurs topped the Mavericks tonight for their 50th win of the season, extending their string of 50-win seasons to a league-high 14. The Mavs, who had an 11-year stretch of 50-win seasons snapped in 2011/12, are merely fighting for their playoff lives this time around. Tonight's loss leaves them three games out of the eighth spot in the West. There's plenty more going on around the West this evening, and we've got the latest here:

  • Along with his leaguewide roundup, Bill Ingram of HoopsWorld shares a video interview with Tony Allen, who points to the Grizzlies' run to the conference semifinals in 2011 as justification for the Rudy Gay trade. Gay missed the playoffs that year with an injured shoulder. "Well, I just think we turned into the team we were two years ago, without the guy we traded," Allen said.
  • Big man Chris Johnson's deal with the Wolves includes a non-guaranteed season next year, and coach Rick Adelman is calling for the wiry Johnson to improve his strength going into 2013/14, observes Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune.
  • Craig Smith, who spent last year with the Blazers, is headed back to the States after his Israeli team cut him loose following a clash with the club's coach, reports Sportando contributor David Pick (Twitter links). 
  • A pair of Sacramento-area attorneys are threatening to petition the city to hold a referendum on whether to provide an expected $250MM in public funding for a new Kings arena, as Tony Bizjak, Dale Kasler and Ryan Lillis of the Sacramento Bee report. Such a petition would require 20,000 signatures, according to estimates by city officials.
  • Neither Patrick Patterson nor Cole Aldrich has seen extensive playing time since coming to the Kings at the trade deadline, but they've made positive impressions in their brief stints, as Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee details in a pair of stories
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