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NBA trade season is underway. Here are a few names to watch

Markieff Morris is almost surely going to be traded by the Suns, while Dwight Howard's future in Houston has some degree of uncertainty.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Dec. 15 is the date when most players who signed in the offseason can be traded, so it marks the opening of NBA "trade season." Some rumors have already started to circulate and there will be plenty more between now and the deadline.

With trade season now open, here are the players and situations to watch.

Already in rumors

Markieff Morris, Phoenix Suns: Morris demanded to be traded in the offseason after twin brother Marcus was dealt to the Detroit Pistons during the Suns' push for LaMarcus Aldridge. Markieff appeared to make peace with the team at the start of training camp, but his play has regressed after a career year in 2014-15 and now he's found himself out of the rotation. He's in the first year of an affordable four-year, $32 million contract, but the questions about his attitude and ongoing legal issues make him a risk. The Houston Rockets and New Orleans Pelicans are rumored to have interest.

Ryan Anderson, New Orleans Pelicans: Anderson has been one of the more effective Pelicans during their disastrous start, but with the power forward set to hit free agency and the cap about to rise, the team may be ready to move on from him rather than paying up on a new long-term deal. He has value as one of the better stretch fours in the league, so New Orleans could get a nice return in a deal. An Anderson-for-Morris swap has reportedly been discussed. However, ESPN's Marc Stein reports that the Pelicans are merely listening to Anderson trade offers rather than shopping him.

Solomon Hill, Indiana Pacers: Hill saw a lot of playing time last season when Paul George was out with his leg injury, but the 2013 first-round pick has effectively been out of the rotation this season after the Pacers declined his fourth-year option. The Pelicans have been linked to Hill.

Miles Plumlee, Milwaukee Bucks: The Bucks acquired Plumlee as part of the three-team deal that also sent Michael Carter-Williams to Milwakee, but the big man has made little impact since the deal and has barely played this season, which has landed him on the trade market.

Kevin Martin, Minnesota Timberwolves: Martin was signed when Kevin Love was around and the Timberwolves were looking to make the playoffs. Once they went into rebuilding mode, the 32-year-old scorer made little sense on their roster. With Minnesota's postseason hopes dwindling after a hot start and plenty of young talent to develop at the wing, the front office has made him available in trade talks, according to The Associated Press. Two unnamed teams have reportedly showed interest in the past. Martin has a player option next season worth around $7.4 million but will likely opt out and seek one last multi-year contract.

Ty Lawson, Houston Rockets: The Rockets acquired Lawson in July but he has disappointed in Houston, averaging career lows in almost every category. Lawson's representatives are trying to find him a new team and the Rockets are willing to accommodate a trade, reports Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. Lawson is on the last year of a contract that is paying him $13 million.


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Keep an eye on

Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets: Houston already fired its head coach, so we know it's willing to shuffle things around. Rumors are swirling that Howard is unhappy with his current role in Houston, though Houston's interest in the disgruntled Markieff Morris, it's fair to assume that the Rockets pull of some sort of move prior to the trade deadline.

Pau Gasol/Joakim Noah/Taj Gibson, Chicago Bulls: The Bulls have one of the deepest frontcourts in the league on paper, but all three big men have their flaws and are 30-plus years old. Noah and likely Gasol (player option) are set to hit free agency, and the Bulls may want to get get younger rather than pay up for aging big men. Gibson still has another year left after this one on his contract, but younger power forwards Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis are in place. Chicago's roster is unbalanced, so one of these players could be dealt for help on the wing, which would subsequently open up time for Portis.

Los Angeles Lakers veterans: The Lakers brought in veterans Lou Williams, Roy Hibbert and Brandon Bass this offseason with the hope that they'd bring the team some respectability. Instead, Los Angeles is awful again, so Mitch Kupchak may want to see what he can get in exchange for one or more of these players. Hibbert is a giant expiring contract and Bass could become a free agent as well, while Williams is in the first year of a three-year, $21 million deal. Nick Young is also a prime candidate to be dealt, although he still has three years left on his contract including this one (player option in the final year).

The rumors are coming

DeMarcus Cousins: The Boogie situation is always one worth monitoring. So it goes when you take a mercurial superstar and put him on the roster of one of the most confounding teams in the league. Cousins has struggled a bit this season (he's shooting just 42 percent from the field), but he's still a 25-year-old star who's under contract for the next two-and-a-half years. If the 10-15 Sacramento Kings decide to start over again -- which, to be fair, they've shown no inclination of doing -- trading Cousins could be the way they go.

Joe Johnson: That massive six-year, $124 million deal he signed with the Atlanta Hawks in 2010 is finally coming to an end, which means the 34-year-old swingman is no longer a player impossible to move. Of course, Johnson is also no longer the player he once was (11.2 points per game on 36 percent shooting), but he's still a big wing with the ability to score. There are many teams that could use a player like that, and the Brooklyn Nets would certainly be willing to ship Johnson off if doing so netted them any sort of draft pick.

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