NBA Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Greg Monroe, Cleveland Cavaliers and More

Andy Bailey@@AndrewDBaileyFeatured ColumnistDecember 26, 2016

MILWAUKEE, WI - FEBRUARY 29: Greg Monroe #15 and Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks box out against Houston Rockets during the game on February 29, 2016 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
Gary Dineen/Getty Images

While most NBA fans nurse a day-after-Christmas turkey hangover, front offices appear to be working the phones as hard as ever, looking for potential trades to make their teams stronger.

Reports from around the league have given us a peek at some of those calls and given us some fresh new possibilities to wonder about.

The perpetually-in-the-rumor-mill Greg Monroe appears to still be there. The Cleveland Cavaliers, despite a hot start and recent win over the Golden State Warriors, could look to strengthen their roster. And the Philadelphia 76ers still need to find a landing spot for Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor.

    

Monroe Still Available?

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 16: Greg Monroe #15 of the Milwaukee Bucks shoots a free throw against the Chicago Bulls on December 16, 2016 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and o
Gary Dineen/Getty Images

Monroe seems to have settled nicely into a bench role with the Milwaukee Bucks. Among players who are qualified for the minutes leaderboard and averaging fewer than 20 per game, Monroe is second in box plus-minus, per Basketball-Reference.com.

He's averaging 17.4 points, 12.7 rebounds and a career-high 2.2 steals per 36 minutes off the pine. It's that last number that should have teams intrigued since Monroe's previously been seen as a defensive liability.

"A league executive told me over the weekend the Bucks are still looking to trade veteran center Greg Monroe," longtime Bucks reporter Gery Woelfel wrote at Woelfel's Press Box.

    

Cavs Open to Dealing?

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 25: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers rallies his teammates in the huddle during player introductions prior to the game Golden State Warriors at Quicken Loans Arena on December 25, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER:
Jason Miller/Getty Images

Cleveland is playing well and should be feeling pretty good about itself after Kyrie Irving's last-second fadeaway knocked off the Warriors on Christmas Day.

But according to USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt, the Cavs will still make a deal for "the right player":

But the Cavs have options. They can make a deal before the trade deadline, and they also have a $9.6 million trade exception to use. Depending on who that player is if they use the trade exception, it would add salary and increase the luxury tax payment. But for the right player, who can help win another championship, the Cavs are willing to make that deal.

If Cleveland can add talent with that trade exception, without having to give up one of its rotation players in the process, a deal would make sense. Coming off a title and cruising to another Finals appearance, don't expect something major.

    

Are Potential Trade Partners Worried About Noel?

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 20: Jahlil Okafor #8 and Nerlens Noel #4 of the Philadelphia 76ers watch the game from the bench in the fourth quarter against the New Orleans Pelicans at Wells Fargo Center on December 20, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. T
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Joel Embiid is the front-runner for Rookie of the Year. Okafor is getting all the backup center run for now. And that brings us to Noel, who's only getting spot minutes off the bench since returning from injury.

And while Philly appears to be working toward a deal to clear up that logjam, the Philadelphia Inquirer's Keith Pompey reported that potential trade partners may be reluctant to take on Noel.

"Teams are wary about Noel," Pompey wrote. "He's in the final season of his rookie deal. So a team that acquires him would most likely make him a restricted free agent by extending a qualifying offer at season's end."

If that means trading Okafor instead of Noel, the Sixers should at least entertain those possibilities. The latter was much more effective than the former last season:

Nerlens Noel vs. Jahlil Okafor in 2015-16
PlayerTRB%AST%STL%BLK%WS/48OBPMDBPMBPMVORP
Nerlens Noel1510.52.93.90.074-2.73.40.71.3
Jahlil Okafor12.88.20.72.90.037-2.6-1.5-4.1-0.8
Basketball-Reference.com

Hopefully, there hasn't been too much damage already done to the relationship between Noel and the Sixers front office.

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