National Basketball Association roundup (Reuters)

(The Sports Xchange) - The Philadelphia 76ers obtained guard Marquis Teague and a 2019 second-round draft pick in a trade with the Brooklyn Nets on Friday for guard Casper Ware. Reports indicated that the Nets were likely to waive Ware, who played in nine games for the 76ers last season and averaged 5.3 points and 1.1 assists. The 21-year-old Teague had 10 points, four assists and six turnovers in Brooklyn's final preseason game on Wednesday night in Boston. - - - Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo is out indefinitely after suffering a facial fracture in practice Thursday. ...

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This post was written by Yahoo! Sports - NBA - New York Knicks News on October 24, 2014 at 7:24 pm

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Phil Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy go back and forth on the merits of the triangle offense (Ball Don’t Lie)

Phil Jackson, for years, was a bit of a jerk to Jeff Van Gundy. Also, for years, Jeff Van Gundy was a bit of a jerk to Phil Jackson. Van Gundy probably lobbed the first salvo, tossing out the not-as-appropriate-in-2014-as-it-was-in-1997 characterization of Jackson as “Big Chief Triangle,” in reference to Jackson’s utilization of both the triangle offense, and Native American anecdotes as teachable mini-tomes to pass onto his players. Jackson, amongst the basketball coaching fraternity, then crossed a few lines by interviewing for Van Gundy’s job in 1999 as an underachieving New York Knicks team was working in its lowest moments. That interview was revealed during a live broadcast of a Knicks playoff game on NBC, and to Van Gundy’s credit that same Knick team went on to overachieve and make the NBA Finals despite entering the playoffs that season as an eighth seed. From there, things became chippier and chippier , especially in the year 2000, via Pro Basketball Talk : When asked why Jackson is constantly taking digs at him, Van Gundy said yesterday “When you win, you can say a lot of things. If I always had the best player, I’d probably be a needler, too. When you have the best player, you can do a lot of things. The best player can usually back it up, too.” […] Jackson told The Post recently about his penchant for giving out poignant books to his players as Christmas presents. When asked what book he would get for Van Gundy, Jackson cracked, “Good things happen to bad people.” Jackson also told AP in the days leading up to the All-Star Game when asked about facing Van Gundy, “I don’t even pay attention to him. He’s like a fly on the wall.” Phil Jackson, never forget, used to be the Big Man on Campus in high school and in college. That sort of thing never leaves you. He can be the sort of smug, smiling sort of guy that keeps you at arm’s length. With that in place, within a span of a few years, Jeff Van Gundy went from an unheralded assistant coach to a media darling. Lauded by national magazines (back when that meant something) as a bit of a basketball savant who would forgo the trappings of stardom and memoir advances in order to study game tape and sleep in his office. Ask anyone who covered the New York Knicks during Van Gundy’s time with the team, and they’ll tell you that his tone and tenor completely changed throughout the course of his run from 1996 to 2001. That doesn’t mean either person is wrong in their estimations of the other’s work, it’s just what relative stardom does to people. Nearly 18 years on, Jeff Van Gundy is still being asked about the triangle offense, and Phil Jackson’s influence. While he was reasonable in his measured take about Jackson’s preferred system in a recent conference call pitched to promote ESPN’s coverage of the NBA this season , he still managed to get a few passable digs in: “The triangle itself is just an offense based on freedom of the ball to go to different places, everybody feeling involved,’’ Van Gundy said. “It’s a good thing. It won’t be the triangle itself that will be the reason they win or lose. It’s going to come down to Carmelo Anthony playing exceptionally well. [Iman] Shumpert and J.R. bouncing back with a big year. J.R. Smith playing well. It’s not going to be because of a system. “I think anybody confusing a system with a reason for success is making a huge mistake. Systems don’t win games. Players do. All you try to do in any system you incorporate is put players in their areas of strength and try to hide and minimize their weaknesses. The triangle for [Scottie] Pippen and [Michael] Jordan with a lot of shooting around them was tremendous system. Same with [Kobe] Bryant and [Shaquille] O’Neal. Then [Pau] Gasol and Bryant. It can work and other systems would’ve worked and they would’ve won it.’’ I heartily disagree with that last statement, as respected and at times ESPN-employed basketball minds like Doug Collins, Mike Brown, and Del Harris had their go with the same rosters that failed at winning with just about the same rosters that Jackson won it all with. Players do win games. Organizations don’t, systems don’t, and sometimes it comes down to the former Ron Artest somehow grabbing an offensive rebound in the waning moments to clinch things. Sometimes it comes down to Bobby Hansen nailing corner threes in the deciding quarter of a championship-clinching game with Michael Jordan on the bench. Sometimes it comes down to Steve Kerr, on the road, pulling out an offensive rebound off of his own missed shot . Why were those players in the positions that they were in at the time? I’ll let you make the call on that. Phil Jackson responded with to Van Gundy’s comments with … an emoji. Because this is 2014, and this is what we do now.   Focus on triangle off by JvG is ????. Execution is what always counts. Sound off w/out it fails, however execution with sound off will win. — Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) October 24, 2014 Yes, the triangle offense works better with great players in position to run it. Same thing with a UCLA flex offense, a drive and kick offense, a pick and roll-heavy two to three, or a bastardized motion offense. Everything works better with Hall of Famers lining up. Byron Scott, Mike Brown, and Randy Wittman’s offenses would even work better with the superstar players Van Gundy listed above. Phil Jackson isn’t after a championship this year, though. He’s not after one the next year and he’s probably resigned to the fact that he’s not going to be able to lure a series of free agents in the upcoming offseasons. What he’s out to do is prove that someone like Carmelo Anthony – every hack sportswriter’s go-to pick as a 1980s-styled, selfish, James Spader-as-a-bad-guy-star – can work and thrive in an offense that is constantly derided as an “equal opportunity” offense. “Equal opportunity,” despite the fact that Michael Jordan shot 22 times a game in this offense. Despite the fact that Kobe Bryant once averaged over 35 a night in this offense. Jackson is trying to create a culture that extends beyond his reach, something that rewards a city and a fan base that embraced him some 46 years ago. It’s not about how J.R. Smith or even Jose Calderon (a ball dominating point guard that, on the surface, would fit about as well in the triple post as well as J.R. Smith would) work in 2014, but how things flow in 2018 with Derek Fisher still at the helm. Conference calls and 2014-15 predictions aren’t the point. The point is to establish order. Jackson may fail in this endeavor – James Dolan still writes the checks, after all – but the pursuit is noble. Jackson understands that basketball, and New York fans, deserve this sort of attention to detail. MJ, Pippen, Kobe, Shaq and Pau may not be walking through that door anytime soon, but that’s just fine. Anything is better than what came before, to be sure, so any coach or system would help here; but those sorts of low expectations aren’t what New York deserves. Systems alone don’t win championships, but New York deserves a system. It won’t help them contend for a title in the next few years; but, sadly, Knick fans are used to waiting things out. Luckily, they have someone in place that understands that life doesn’t flow some 48 minutes at a time. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops

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This post was written by Yahoo! Sports - NBA - New York Knicks News on October 24, 2014 at 3:57 pm

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BDL’s 2014-15 NBA Season Previews: Sacramento Kings (Ball Don’t Lie)

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This post was written by Yahoo! Sports - NBA - New York Knicks News on October 24, 2014 at 3:30 pm

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BDL’s 2014-15 NBA Season Previews: Sacramento Kings (Ball Don’t Lie)

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This post was written by Yahoo! Sports - NBA - New York Knicks News on October 24, 2014 at 3:22 pm

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Brief profiles of Eastern Conference teams (Reuters)

(Reuters) - Following are brief profiles of the 15 teams in the National Basketball Association's Eastern Conference ahead of the 2014-15 season. ATLANTIC DIVISION BOSTON CELTICS Founded: 1946 NBA titles: 17 (2008, 1986, 1984, 1981, 1976, 1974, 1969, 1968, 1966, 1965, 1964, 1963, 1962, 1961, 1960, 1959, 1957) Head coach: Brad Stevens 2013-14 record: 25-57 (Proud Celtics finish 12th in conference after a run of six seasons in playoffs) Sorry Celtics fans, no playoff for Boston -- again. That's hard to accept for a franchise with 17 titles, but the talent is not there. ...

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This post was written by Yahoo! Sports - NBA - New York Knicks News on October 24, 2014 at 3:22 pm

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Cavs, Bulls the expected frontrunners in East (The Associated Press)

LeBron James is again surrounded by an All-Star caliber guard, a big man who can score and 3-point sharpshooters.

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This post was written by Yahoo! Sports - NBA - New York Knicks News on October 24, 2014 at 12:34 pm

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BDL’s 2014-15 NBA Season Previews: Phoenix Suns (Ball Don’t Lie)

The Arizona desert turned up a UFO crash in 1953, purple alien eggs just last year and Lord knows what else in the 60 years between. It’s only natural the Phoenix Suns add another wrinkle to their own weird science experiment, turning a two-headed snake into a three-headed monster in the backcourt. In a strange summer, general manager Ryan McDonough agreed to  a four-year, $27 million contract with Sacramento Kings dynamo Isaiah Thomas on the day the NBA’s moratorium lifted, seemingly signaling the end of fellow restricted free agent point guard Eric Bledsoe’s fun in the Arizona sun. But the NBA Executive of the Year runner-up doubled down, inking Mini LeBron to a five-year, $70 million deal some two months later. With All-NBA Third Team selection Goran Dragic also in the Phoenix mix, McDonough effectively created the league’s most dangerous polycephalous point guard. So, the Suns will roll the dice with a troika of All-Star-caliber guards, identified flying object Gerald Green and a mysterious frontcourt in an attempt to recreate last year’s bizarre 48-34 record, which tied the 2007-08 Golden State Warriors for the best season by a team that didn't make the playoffs since the NBA switched to the 16-team playoff format in 1984. Under NBA Coach of the Year runner-up (noticing a trend here) Jeff Hornacek, Phoenix played at a top-10 pace in his first season at the helm, and the Suns will run again, even faster if possible. Only, they’ll have to do so without Channing Frye, whose floor-stretching capacity from the power forward position translated into 8.3 additional points per 100 possessions in his 28.2 minutes a night on the floor, according to Basketball-Reference.com . Out of the Frye pan and into the fire will be Markieff Morris, whose own breakout 2013-14 season (2,153 minutes, 13.8 points, six rebounds and 1.8 assists per game, 56.4 True Shooting percentage, 18.4 Player Efficiency Rating) earned him a four-year, $52 million deal to split unevenly with his twin brother, Marcus Morris. Sharpshooting veteran free agent forward Anthony Tolliver (41.3 percent on a career-high 247 3-point tries for Charlotte last year) and young center projects Miles Plumlee and Alex Len round out a bigs mess. Add a pair of potential mid-first-round steals in T.J. Warren and Tyler Ennis, another Dragic named Zoran and a post- “super extreme” DUI suspension P.J. Tucker, and it should be another supernatural season for the 2013-14 League Pass legends. Last year taught us this much about the Suns: They are here. 2013-14 season in 140 characters or less: What the Ish is this? The weirdest collection of awesome under the Suns. Did the summer help at all? The Suns let their most productive big walk , spent the money Frye got in Orlando on a third point guard , handed one contract to a pair of twins , signed their best player’s brother and drafted one half of Bojan and Bogdan Bogdanovic — all as their starting small forward spent a no expenses paid three-day vacation in county jail . So … just your typical NBA offseason? Seriously, that’s freaky, even by their standards. Go-to offseason acquisition: Had Thomas not stood just 69 inches tall, he would have commanded far more than $27 million over four years in free agency. After all, the Sactown sparkplug was one of six players to average 20 points and six assists while posting a PER above 20 this past season. The others: LeBron James, Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kyrie Irving and Russell Westbrook. Those dudes aren’t so bad. Thomas comes with another caveat, though, since Sacramento’s fast-paced offense and non-existent defense over the past decade has produced plenty of padded stats that haven’t translated elsewhere. In the past 10 years, Marcus Thornton, Tyreke Evans, Kevin Martin, Ron Artest, Mike Bibby and Peja Stojakovic combined for one 20-point-per-game season upon leaving the Kings. At the very least, Thomas allows Hornacek to keep some combo of Bledsoe, Dragic and Thomas on the floor for the majority of the game, strumming that double-necked point-guard guitar all night long. The fact that Thomas’ per-minute averages have remained steady as both a starter and reserve in his three-year career is an encouraging sign that the Suns will be able to keep making the same sweet music they did last season. Glaring weakness: The Suns don’t quite have a black hole in the middle, but it’s an awful dark mass in the space-time continuum. Plumlee and Len are expected to receive the bulk of those minutes, and that duo (mostly Plumlee, due to the multiple injuries that scuttled Len's rookie season) anchored the NBA’s fourth-worst efficiency differential at the position last season, according to HoopsStats.com (minus-3.8). Plumlee’s minutes plunged throughout 2013-14 as Hornacek got more comfortable playing Markieff Morris and the since-departed Frye in smaller, more offensively potent lineups. As a result, though, Phoenix allowed 42.2 points in the paint per game , also the league’s fourth-worst group. Not even highly regarded defensive assistant coach Mike Longabardi could help the Suns rise above the middle of the pack in points allowed per possession. Plumlee is still their best bet to clog the middle on defense, even if he does the same on offense. Contributor with something to prove: Following his client’s second knee surgery in three years, Bledsoe's agent spent the offseason demanding a max contract for a player who has started all of 78 NBA games. McDonough, who reportedly offered four years and $48 million, entered a summer-long staring contest with Rich Paul, and the two sides met closer to Bledsoe's demands. To say the 24-year-old has something to prove is an understatement. For chunks of last season, Bledsoe replicated what so many projected for Chris Paul's former backup. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound brick of muscle averaged 17.7 points (57.8 TS%), 5.5 assists and 4.7 rebounds while generally tormenting opposing backcourts alongside Dragic in 43 games. That's encouraging for a fourth-year point guard on his rookie contract; now it's expected from an eight-figure-salaried franchise player. Potential breakout stud: Double ankle surgeries stunted Year 1 of The Alex Len Project, presenting a built-in excuse for the No. 5 overall pick’s PER (7.3), true shooting percentage (46.9) and statistical averages over 42 games (two points, 2.4 rebounds and 0.4 blocks in 8.6 minutes per game). Now, double finger fractures — on the same right pinkie, mind you — offer another easy excuse for the 7-foot-1 Ukrainian to start slow out of the gate. Yet Len made huge strides from his freshman to sophomore seasons at Maryland, and the 21-year-old has the potential to take a similar step forward after one year under Hornacek and Longabardi. He added the customary 15 pounds of muscle, and then collected six points, six boards and a pair of blocks before breaking his finger 25 minutes into Summer League. The re-broken finger is a setback for a player in desperate need of preseason practice, but he’ll still start the regular season healthy, and the minutes will be there for him to demonstrate his improvement, especially if he develops a mid-range jumper. Best-case scenario: It won’t be easy for Dragic to repeat his breakout All-NBA season, Green to shoot 3’s at a 40 percent clip again and Tolliver to replace Frye’s 2,312 minutes, but some combo of Bledsoe’s health, the addition of Thomas and the improvements of the Morris twins, Plumlee and/or Len should help the Suns recreate the magic that made them the NBA darlings of 2013-14. Even then, they’ll still be navigating a crowded Western Conference playoff picture that may also include Anthony Davis’ New Orleans Pelicans — all for the right to face the Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers or San Antonio Spurs in the first round. Them’s the breaks for a franchise on the rise. If everything falls apart: Even if the science experiment takes a turn for the worse and the Suns just miss the postseason for a second straight year, McDonough will still have a pair of lottery picks at his disposal. Phoenix still owns a top-five protected pick from the Steve Nash trade, so barring a bit of Los Angeles Lakers luck, the worst-case scenario — a couple of mid-round picks — isn’t the worst consolation prize. Unless, of course, the team’s talented young core undergoes an abduction of sorts. Stranger things have happened in the Arizona desert. The Suns are on standing on the edge of an event horizon. Strap in for another weird, wild ride. Kelly Dwyer’s Best Guess at a Record: Phoenix will finish 47-35, eighth in the Western Conference. Read all of Ball Don't Lie's 2014-15 NBA Season Previews: EASTERN CONFERENCE Atlanta Hawks • Boston Celtics • Brooklyn Nets • Charlotte Hornets • Chicago Bulls • Cleveland Cavaliers • Detroit Pistons • Indiana Pacers • Miami Heat • Milwaukee Bucks • New York Knicks • Orlando Magic • Philadelphia 76ers • Toronto Raptors • Washington Wizards WESTERN CONFERENCE Dallas Mavericks • Denver Nuggets • Golden State Warriors • Houston Rockets • Los Angeles Clippers • Los Angeles Lakers • Memphis Grizzlies • Minnesota Timberwolves • New Orleans Pelicans • Oklahoma City Thunder • Phoenix Suns • Portland Trail Blazers • Sacramento Kings • San Antonio Spurs • Utah Jazz - - - - - - - Ben Rohrbach is a contributor for Ball Don't Lie and Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach

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This post was written by Yahoo! Sports - NBA - New York Knicks News on October 24, 2014 at 11:50 am

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New-Look NBA: A coach’s perspective, Quin Snyder (The Associated Press)

The Associated Press will periodically look at the changing landscape of the NBA during the upcoming season from varied perspectives: A player's viewpoint, from the bench, and from the business side. An interview with first-year Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder is the second installment of the series: --- Quin Snyder needed two hands to count all the places he's called home of late. Snyder is now a rookie head coach in the NBA, accepting the challenge of leading a Utah franchise that once made playoff trips seem automatic back to the level of the NBA's elite. He is one of nine new coaches this season, one of four - New York's Derek Fisher, Golden State's Steve Kerr and Cleveland's David Blatt are the others - to have a head coaching job in the NBA for the first time.

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This post was written by Yahoo! Sports - NBA - New York Knicks News on October 24, 2014 at 11:40 am

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Championship window might be closing for Thunder (The Associated Press)

The future looks bright for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka - who have played together for the past five years - certainly have the talent to make a jump.

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This post was written by Yahoo! Sports - NBA - New York Knicks News on October 23, 2014 at 6:16 pm

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Knicks sign center Jordan Vandenberg (The Associated Press)

NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Knicks signed center Jordan Vandenberg on Thursday.

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This post was written by Yahoo! Sports - NBA - New York Knicks News on October 23, 2014 at 6:07 pm

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