Eight guys who might be traded come December 15

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Next Wednesday, Dec. 15, the NBA trading landscape gets interesting.

That’s the day that guys signed to free agent contracts this summer become eligible for trades. So those guys your team signed this summer that seemed smart then but look like a disaster now can be shipped out — if you can find a taker.

We thought Darko Milicic and Richard Jefferson would be on that list. We were wrong.

But Ira Winderman gives us here at NBC a list of eight guys who become available and could be on the block:

Jermaine O’Neal, Celtics: Shaq is working out well, Kendrick Perkins will be back, Glen Davis is your backup four now… so Jermaine becomes expendable for the right deal.

Brendan Haywood, Mavericks: Tyson Chandler (along with young developing centers in the pipeline) make him expendable — if you can find a sucker for that six-year, $55 million deal Dallas gave him. Haywood is not a bad option for a team that needs a big, but that is a steep price tag.

Theo Ratliff, Lakers: Winderman said it best: “Well, what do you know, the Lakers signed an injury-plagued, aging center and he turns out to be injury plagued and old?”
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Eddie House, Heat: He is sliding down the depth chart and may be available.

Tracy McGrady, Pistons: He’s played okay, but if the Pistons decide to blow it up and trade Tayshaun Prince and/or Rip Hamilton, McGrady could get moved, too.
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Randy Foye, Clippers: Winderman again: “With the emergence of Eric Bledsoe and the return of Baron Davis, there is not much need. The question is whether interest remains elsewhere in the league.”

Anthony Carter, Nuggets: Not a guy getting a lot of run in Denver, but it comes down to if the Nuggets decide to trade Chauncey Billups if they move Carmelo Anthony. There probably is value for Carter out there.

Joe Smith, Nets: Winderman: “From opening-night starter, the veteran forward has gone to afterthought. The Nets do not need him, but a playoff contender just might find some value there as injury protection.”

Guys Winderman throws on the “maybe to be moved list” are: Joel Anthony of Miami, Drew Gooden of the Bucks and Mike Miller of the Heat. Kind of hard to see the last one, even with the emergence of James Jones.

Buddy Hield on Kings getting booed at home: ‘That’s how Sacramento fans are’

Kings guard Buddy Hield
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Buddy Hield is quite familiar with frustration amid the Kings’ disappointing season.

Sacramento fans showed theirs Wednesday, booing the Kings during their home loss to the Mavericks.

Buddy Hield, via James Ham of NBC Sports California:

“Everybody is frustrated, it’s not even them, we’re trying to figure it out too,” Buddy Hield said following the loss. “But it’s the home team and we get booed…we don’t agree with it, but they’re going to voice their opinion.

“I understand their frustration, but like I said, I’m going to keep shooting the ball,” Hield continued. “When I make a three they like me, when I don’t, they hate you. That’s how Sacramento fans are, man, so you’ve got to embrace it.”

Hield seemingly isn’t looking to pick a fight with fans. He made a point to empathize with their frustration.

But I don’t think he’s being fair, either.

Kings fans are far more loyal than swinging between love and hate depending whether or not a shot falls. They’re fed up after 13 – going on 14 – straight seasons missing the playoffs. This year has been particularly discouraging, as Sacramento has backtracked from fun and fast to sad and slow. Losing to Luka Doncica particular grievance – only adds to the irritation.

The Kings’ problems have spanned multiple owners, executives, coaches and players. So, booing this group isn’t totally fair, either. But this is who’s in front of the fans.

If this Sacramento team plays hard and together, fans will embrace it – and stick with it through thinner times.

76ers play 6-on-5 vs. Bulls (video)

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The 76ers found one way to solve their spacing issues.

Philadelphia showed good ball movement, finding Furkan Korkmaz for an open corner 3-pointer. The catch? Korkmaz got open, because the 76ers had six players on the floor.

I love Kyle O'Quinn trying to slink off the court. He wanted to get away with it. Tobias Harris, who jogged to the bench, was practically begging to get caught.

Honestly, I’m a little surprised how quickly the Bulls noticed the violation. It’s not as if their defense scrambling is anything new.

Thirty days after being called ‘day-to-day,’ Karl-Anthony Towns returns to Timberwolves

Karl-Anthony Towns
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Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders called Karl-Anthony Towns “day-to-day” with a left knee sprain.

That was 30 days ago.

Towns finally returned to Minnesota’s lineup, starting against the Pacers tonight.

While out due to his knee, Towns also battled illness. That undoubtedly complicated matters. But the Timberwolves repeatedly calling him “questionable” raises questions about their commitment to transparency. That’s important in an NBA embracing gambling.

Towns’ 17-game absence is a rare dent in his durability. In his first four seasons, Towns missed only five games – two due to a car crash.

Towns is Minnesota’s best player. He could provide a jolt to a team hanging in the playoff race. But, after a strong start, the Timberwolves began to tumble even before Towns went down. They’re probably won’t make the playoffs, though their odds are definitely better with him. At least he returns in time to make an All-Star case.

Knicks’ Marcus Morris after 23-point loss to Suns: ‘We were a better team’

Knicks forward Marcus Morris
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Marcus Morris loathes the Suns.

Unfortunately for him, his Knicks lost to the Suns, 121-98, yesterday.

Morris, via Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News:

“Kudos to Phoenix, but at the end of the day, we were a better team,” Marcus Morris said postgame. “We should have got that win tonight.”

Nahhh.

The Knicks stink. They’ve lost seven of eight. Morris talked about energy, and New York’s could be better. But this is what happens on losing teams. The Knicks’ roster just isn’t good enough. It’s not more complicated than that.

The Suns aren’t great, either. But they’re much better than New York – no matter how much that grinds Morris.