Timberwolves, Raptors, Knicks, Suns, NBA Tradeability

- ‘Bruise Brothers’ the answer for Wolves? (from Zach Harper, ESPN):

“As this reconstruction of the Minnesota Timberwolves franchise has been executed over the past few years, the idea of putting Kevin Love next to a frontcourt bruiser never seemed to be high on the list of priorities.

Find a scoring forward like Michael Beasley to form a dynamic, productive duo? They tried that.

Make sure Ricky Rubio comes over from Spain and starts cashing in on the hype and potential to make him the apotheosis of successful pure point guard play? That’s still a work in progress that could be under construction longer than the city planned.

Making Nikola Pekovic the bulldozer to Love’s wrecking ball may not have been the initial plan, but it has developed over the past three years as Pekovic became a viable option in the paint. When he re-signed with the Wolves for five years and $60 million, new president of basketball operations Flip Saunders seemed to have a vision of how this team would play.

Punishing.

“We envision Pek and Kevin Love being the ‘Bruise Brothers’ and forming one of the best front courts in the NBA for a long time to come,” Saunders said during a news conference this summer to announce the Pekovic re-up.”

Read it here: http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/65115/bruise-brothers-the-answer-for-wolves

- Confident Raptors conquer league-best Pacers, continue winning ways (from James Herbert, SBNation):

“Toronto thinks it can compete with anyone, for good reason. The Raps have beaten the NBA’s two top teams in the last two weeks.

Read it here: http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/1/2/5265464/toronto-raptors-beat-indiana-pacers-2013

- Next Stop on Jeremy Tyler’s Odyssey: The Knicks (from Scott Cacciola, NYTimes):

“Jeremy Tyler was back on the practice court for the Knicks on Tuesday morning as the 15th man. It was no small victory for him.

There was a time, not so long ago, when Tyler was considered a can’t-miss prospect, a 6-foot-10 center with immense gifts: size, strength, quickness, confidence. He was 17 years old when he announced that he was leaving his San Diego high school after his junior season so he could play professionally in Israel. A family decision, he called it — an opportunity to live abroad for two years and develop his game while preparing for the N.B.A.

Things did not go as planned.

Little has for Tyler, 22 and more polished, more mature, more committed — that is the hope, anyway. After spending the past two months with the Erie BayHawks of the N.B.A.’s Development League, he signed with the Knicks on Tuesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Tyler is a fresh presence for this ragtag team, which will face the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday as part of a three-game swing through Texas. He might help the Knicks (9-21), or he might not help them at all. At least he has the opportunity.”

Read it here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/02/sports/basketball/jeremy-tylers-odyssey-continues-with-the-knicks.html

- Which NBA Players Can’t Be Traded? (from Eric Pincus, Hoopsworld):

“As of December 15, most free agents who signed over the summer became eligible for trades.

Now that general managers have seen their teams play some 30 games, it’s time for franchises to either start thinking about their long-term future or adding that one piece to put them over the top while pursuing postseason success.

The NBA trade deadline is February 20, 2014, but a number of players are still off limits.

Under certain rules, if a player re-signed with his team this past summer while receiving a raise of at least 20 percent — and the team is over the cap — the player cannot be traded until January 15, 201

Read it here: http://www.hoopsworld.com/not-all-nba-players-can-be-traded

- The Phoenix Suns’ Double Motion Screen (from Andrew Lynch, Hardwood Paroxysm):
“In employing two point guards in the starting lineup, the Phoenix Suns are able to maximize the pressure that their offense exerts on opposing defenses. If an action on one side of the floor stagnates or is snuffed out, Phoenix has the luxury of swinging the ball to the other side and trying something new — or, in some cases, running the exact same set all over again. But the Suns also use their two ball handlers in a number of ways that are designed to optimize their playmaking abilities within the same play.One of the sets that most exemplifies Phoenix’s commitment to its two point guard lineups combines the prowess of Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic with a couple of well-set screens by Miles Plumlee. It’s a play the Suns run often, especially as on the first possession of the game. It begins with Plumlee at the left elbow and Channing Frye slightly above the area extended from the right elbow. Dragic stashes himself in the strong-side corner, and P.J. Tucker starts above the break on the weak side.

From there, Phoenix sets its offense in motion. Frye clears out to the weak corner, and Plumlee steps up to set a screen for Bledsoe. Yet it’s not your typical top pick and roll….”

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