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NBA Trade Rumors: Dec. 26–Jan. 1

Paul Millsap, Greg Monroe, and Paul George are featured in this week’s recap of trade talk around the league.

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NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Atlanta Hawks Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: The Atlanta Hawks may be open to parting with All-Star power forward Paul Millsap, according to Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst of ESPN. Millsap reportedly intends to opt out of his contract this summer, so the Hawks could be inclined to move him while they can get something in return. However, Atlanta’s asking price is expected to be high enough to prevent trade, given the circumstances.

It’s been a bit quieter on the trade rumor front this week. Perhaps “a league source” has been spending more time with family during the holidays instead of talking to NBA writers. There are still a few new rumors out there though.

The Milwaukee Bucks are interested in trading center Greg Monroe. Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times wrote on his personal blog on that a league executive told him the Bucks are still looking to trade the 26-year-old. Milwaukee reportedly shopped Monroe this past summer after signing him to a 3-year, $51 million contract the summer before. There was speculation this summer that Portland, who tried to sign Monroe last summer, might still be interested in acquiring the former lottery pick.

This season Monroe has averaged 9.8 points and 6.6 rebounds in 19.9 minutes per game off the bench. While he signed a max free agent contract in 2015, the rising salary cap has made his $17.1 million salary figure slightly more palatable. He has a player option for the 2017–18 season which would put his salary at $17.8 million if he exercised it.

Last week Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Houston Rockets were interested in available bigs. This week ESPN’s Marc Stein added some specifics to that rumor. He tweeted on Friday that the Sacramento KingsKosta Koufos has emerged as Houston’s “prime target.” Zach Lowe added that the Rockets were dangling Corey Brewer which in his words “isn’t getting them much traction.” Brewer is averaging a career-low 4.0 points in 14.6 minutes per game.

Paul George was in the news a bit this week. On Thursday the Indiana Pacers All-Star spoke out about his frustration this season:

Maybe I’m just living in the past of how good we used to be—all the guys I had around. I’m still living in that moment maybe, and I got to put myself into a different team. Maybe I have to do more. Maybe that’s just what it is. Maybe I have to do more now. But whatever it is, I’m going to figure it out.

George was fined $15,000 by the league earlier in the week for criticizing officials after the Pacers loss to the Chicago Bulls on Monday. Jim Ayello of the Indy Star quoted him in an article Friday:

“I’ve been getting caught up with officials, getting caught up with on-court stuff,” George said after practice Wednesday. “(I’ve lost) sight of how fun this game is to me. … Now whatever happens on the court, I couldn’t care less, as long as I’m having fun and enjoying what I’m doing."

“This season hasn’t been (fun),” he said. “It’s been one of the most frustrating seasons I’ve been a part of. But I just have to approach it as being myself, to enjoy the process, enjoy the grind. That’s only going to show on the court. But more so, it’s going to show in the locker room.”

Indiana currently sits just outside the Eastern Conference playoffs at 16-18, after beating the Bulls Friday night to stop a 4-game losing streak. Whether or not George is enjoying himself he’s likely to remain a Pacer. Adrian Wojnarowski reported a couple weeks ago that Indiana has no interest in listening to offers for their 3x All-Star. George is currently in the third year of a 5-year contract that runs through the 2018–19 season.

We’re only a couple weeks away from Jan. 15, when a number of players—including Portland’s Allen Crabbe, Maurice Harkless, and Meyers Leonard—become trade eligible. Check back next week to stay up to date on the latest rumors from around the league.

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