The Lakers spent part of Monday morning signing jerseys and basketballs for charities and corporate sponsors, with the tagline for their memorabilia, and their season, to be determined at a later date.
Will they merely be Pacific Division champions? Perhaps Western Conference kings? Or maybe, way down the road, NBA champions?
Eighty-one games into the season, they've put themselves on the doorstep of home-court advantage throughout the conference playoffs. If they win tonight at home against Sacramento, the Lakers clinch the top spot in the West, an obvious advantage in the tightest regular-season race since the league moved to a 16-team playoff format in 1983-84.
They've overcome injuries (Andrew Bynum), ineffectiveness (they were 9-8 at one point) and indecision (the Kobe Bryant will-he-stay-or-go story line) and have one more ledge to scale.
Standing in the path of their upward diagonal is a rival from up north.
The Kings effectively took New Orleans out of the top spot with a 94-91 victory on Saturday. They could do the same to the Lakers.
"We're mucking it up," Kings Coach Reggie Theus told reporters. "You can't do anything but smile about it. We haven't given up."
Kevin Martin, the Kings' leading scorer, has been slowed by a knee injury, and center Brad Miller has been sidelined because of leg and elbow injuries, but Ron Artest has continued to be a factor on both sides of the court. He scored 22 points against New Orleans, including four three-pointers, and had eight rebounds and three steals.
Don't look now, but the Kings also beat the Lakers at Staples Center last month.
Bryant's fadeaway 18-footer bounced off the rim at the buzzer in the Lakers' 114-113 loss March 9. The Lakers were beaten by Kings point guard Beno Udrih, who had 25 points and 10 assists, and because of an off night by Bryant, who scored 26 points but had only six in the second half on one-for-seven shooting.
"It was an embarrassing loss for us," Bryant said. "We want to try and pay them back a little bit."
If they do, the Lakers can expect a first-round series against Denver or Dallas after they take some time to reflect, if not celebrate a bit.
"We overcame a lot as far as the training camp, the [Bryant] trade talks . . . and injuries during the year," forward Lamar Odom said. "To get the No. 1 spot in the West -- in the tough, tough West -- would be an accomplishment for all of us."
The Lakers would get the job done if they played with the same defensive drive they showed in the second half Sunday against San Antonio.
They held the Spurs to 32 points over the final two quarters of an emphatic 106-85 victory. The Spurs made three of 17 shots in the third quarter and two of their first 13 attempts in the fourth.
"It's important for the rest of the league to know that we can play as hard a defense as anybody and we can be as intense and as aggressive as anybody in the league," forward-center Pau Gasol said. "But we've got to prove it every game, not just for one or two games. We've got to keep it consistent."
If the Lakers win the regular-season race in the West, it is expected to help Bryant's stock in the eyes of most-valuable-player voters.
Bryant, in his 12th season, has never won the award, though he shrugs off the notion that he turned into a team player this season.
"You win the MVP now, it's really all about making your teammates better, which has always been a criticism directed toward me," Bryant said. "Last I checked, I won three rings. It's kind of tough to be the type of player that doesn't make his teammates better. Shaq [O'Neal] wasn't the only one doing that. Even though the criticism is there, I don't think it's justified. It's still a challenge. A challenge I accept."
Twenty-eight of the 30 NBA teams play Wednesday, but not the Lakers.
Win or lose tonight, they'll get an extra day of rest heading into the playoffs.
"We've been sticking to eight, nine players, basically, most of these games," Coach Phil Jackson said. "We're wearing some of these guys down a little bit, but we've got a break."
Sacramento is the other team that doesn't play Wednesday.
vs. Sacramento, 7:30, FSN West
Site -- Staples Center.
Radio -- 570, 1330.
Records -- Lakers 56-25, Kings 38-43.
Record vs. Kings -- 2-1.
Update -- With a victory tonight, the Lakers would win the season series against the Kings for only the second time in the last six seasons.