Congratulations to the Lakers, who, after a season of nearly non-stop turmoil, have clinched a playoff spot with the Grizzlies' win over the Jazz tonight. That comes as no surprise to many Hoops Rumors readers, as the Lakers were the top choice when we asked two weeks ago which Western Conference team would grab the final playoff spot in the West. You were also right on about the Jazz, tabbing them in early March as the team most likely to miss the playoffs among a group that also included the Lakers, Warriors and Rockets. Now, as the Lakers attempt to move up to the seventh seed with a win over Houston tonight, here's more on them and a couple of their Pacific Division rivals.
- Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak told Jim Rome of CBS Radio that he expects to re-sign Dwight Howard, echoing a pair of sources who said the same to Sam Amick of USA Today a few days ago.
- Yannis Koutroupis of HoopsWorld concludes the Lakers can't win a title as constituted this year or next, and lays out three options for the team: a full rebuilding effort, a quick rebuild for next season, and the most likely option, a push for free agents in 2014. Regardless of what happens, re-signing Howard figures to be the first item on their offseason agenda, as Koutroupis writes.
- Dwayne Jones will be with Golden State when the playoffs begin this weekend, but Scott Machado will remain with the Warriors' D-League affiliate for its postseason run, tweets Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle. The Warriors signed deals with both today for the rest of the season.
- Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com figures the NBA's decision to delay a vote until next month on the future of the Kings is a positive for Sacramento, arguing the city will benefit from more time in its tug-of-war with Seattle (Twitter link).