Mar, 16, 2012; Oklahoma City OK, USA; San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker (9) and Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook (0) eye the ball during the game at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Richard Rowe-US PRESSWIRE

NBA: Western Conference Notes


Playoff Teams

Spurs are fundamentally sound all around. This team is hard to pinpoint, but Greg Popovich and Tony Parker have this team undefeated in the playoffs so far. This could be the year, with veterans aging and Tim Duncan possibly retiring.

OKC does a lot of good things. They have three explosive playmakers, a lock-down defender, and a shot-blocker in the paint. I think they are too 1 on 1 to win it all, but can they keep James Harden around when his contract situation comes up?

Lakers Andrew Bynum’s contract expires after next season and Pau Gasol will be on the trading block for the right price. Ramon Sessions will hit free agency, where Deron Williams and Steve Nash will be available. Is Dwight Howard still a target?

Clippers have a lot of free agents and decisions to make in the offseason. Chauncey Billups, Nick Young, Moe Williams, Randy Foye, and Kenyon Martin will hit the market, and Chris Paul’s contract expires after next season.

Grizzlies are very talented and may be better off without Rudy Gay. They lost in 7 games to OKC last year and excelled under a traditional style of play. They got bounced out of the first round in 7 games this year, and need to add shooting.

Nuggets put together a deep team full of scorers and length. Perhaps George Karl can maximize Javele McGee and Danilo Gallinari to play with consistency. Ty Lawson has elevated his game to star status while Andre Miller’s contract expires.

Mavericks celebrated their championship last year and were happy to make the playoffs after a mediocre season. Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, and Delonte West could all leave town, and they favored to land Deron Williams, Dwight Howard, or both.

Jazz needed better play from the shooting guard position. They like the youth they have, but will look to move one of their big guys that make up a crowded front court. Devin Harris is a solid, but word is they may look to upgrade at point guard.

April 4, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Officials discuss the dunk by Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin (32) over the back of Los Angeles Lakers power forward Pau Gasol (16) during the game at the Staples Center. Lakers won 113-108. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

The Rest of the West

Rockets took a playoff hit when their floor general, Kyle Lowry, got injured. Goran Dragic did a fine job and will draw interest in free agency. Marcus Camby will also hit free agency, and they could look move either Courtney Lee or Kevin Martin.

Suns were carried by the great Steve Nash. Grant Hill, along with most of their guards will hit the market, but Aaron Brooks is ready to start at point. They have some sign-and-trade possibilities and the cap space to be active in free agency.

Blazers will clear the books with half the team being either injured, or unrestricted free agents. They will turn their attention to free agency and the draft to build around LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum. Portland is always involved in trade rumors.

Timberwolves got hit by the injury bug. Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love form the core, but Michael Beasley might be shipped and appears to have a journeyman career. They will add top talent from the draft and need their own players to develop.

Warriors seemed to throw in the towel last season for a higher draft pick. They are a young bunch with a fiery coach. Unless they trade a starter, their success hinges on the health of Stephen Curry, Richard Jefferson, and Andrew Bogut.

Kings will not have to worry about any contracts. They have a promising center in DeMarcus Cousins that will anchor this young team. If Tyreke Evans doesn’t pan out, they should be able to acquire talent via trade and with a deep draft coming up.

Hornets finally have an owner that can make basketball operations. If they can’t extend Eric Gordon they should get some quality players for him in a deal. It helps to have Chris Kaman off the books and next year will be Emeka Okafor’s contract.

Tags: May 2012 National Basketball Association NBA Offseason Playoffs Postseason Western Conference