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February 20, 12:55 PM ET
Chat with Chad Ford

Chad Ford
  (1:02 PM)

Aloha everyone. With the trade deadline over, things should really start to settle down for the next few months. We'll talk some aftermath from the deadline and then get back to business on the NBA Draft. Let's roll.

James (detroit)

Any chance the Pistons can sign Millsap and trade for Chandler this summer? They'll be roughly 22M under the cap, so they could sign Millsap to a 5 year/45M deal and take on Chandlers contract right?

Chad Ford
  (1:04 PM)

Yes, they could. However, Millsap will be a restricted free agent. So the Jazz can match. But you are thinking in the right direction. The Pistons will be looking for bigs this summer and both players are really good fits.

Troy (Portland)

I hear so much about how Pritchard didn't take a risk by trading Raef for a veteran. But couldn't you argue that he took the biggest risk of all? He could've brought in a guy like Jefferson or Carter and they would've helped a lot, but he's relying on young, unproven guys. That seems like a bigger risk. What do you think?

Chad Ford
  (1:06 PM)

No ... that's not a risk ... it's a what if. Pritchard's smart enough to know that the risk is much less not trading for a guy than trading for him. I'm really surprised that Pritchard didn't pull the trigger, especially after learning, after the fact, that in the last hour New Jersey offered Carter, plus two future firsts (Dallas' and Golden State's in 2011) for LaFrentz. Portland said no. I think Pritchard was worried about taking back a big contract (Carter has 2 years, $37 million guaranteed) and even more so the chemistry issue. What he has is working right now. I think he was afraid to mess with it.

Matthew (NYC)

Hey Chad, I thought Pritchard's demand for the Golden State pick was the sticking point for a Nets-Blazers trade, but you reported earlier today that the Nets HAD offered it to Portland in addition to the Dallas pick. Why would the Blazers turn that down? Was NJ asking for more than we know?

Chad Ford
  (1:08 PM)

I think they turned it down for the reasons that I spoke about in the last post -- money and chemistry. What's more interesting to me is that the Nets made the offer. I think it shows, without a doubt, that they were ready to give away VC. That's why he's at the top of our "Players to Be Traded This Summer" list today on ESPN.com. Makes you wonder thought, if that offer couldn't get it done, what will? The economy is changing everything.

Dan, Cleveland

Can you explain what's happening with the salary cap. I keep reading bits and pieces, but would really like the big picture?

Chad Ford
  (1:14 PM)

Most likely the salary cap will go down slightly this summer. This year it was set at $58.6 million. The NBA cap experts I talk with are projecting it at $58 million. That's down from the $62 million they were projecting six months ago. The reason is the economy. Teams are taking a beating in attendance right now. That also means that the luxury tax number will go down as well. The expert I speak with has it falling from $71 million to $70 million. Again, teams were planning for an increase, not a decrease. Two more interesting things. First, in the summer of 2010, the expert I'm consulting with says it's possible the cap could fall again, this time to as low as $55 million. The league is worried about season ticket and luxury box renewals in the bad economy. That could leave teams with $9 million less than they thought they'd have in the summer of 2010. The other interesting note is that the league sent out a memo of hypothetical scenarios the day before the trade deadline. Those scenarios had the cap coming in at $57.3 million ... that scared a lot of owners to death. They were hypothetical, mind you, but I think it had a major chilling effect on the last day of the trade deadline.

Mike (Irvine)

Why doesnt Kerr just come out and say "everything i have done so far has been completely wrong" already, every move has backfired so far.

Chad Ford
  (1:15 PM)

I think he's come close to that. I love Kerr. Think he's a brilliant guy. But he's thrown a wrench into a fantastic franchise and I'm just not sure when the bleeding will stop. The move back to Alvin Gentry has been the first move that really seems like a good one.

gregg (cleveland, OH)

Chad, you never mention the Cavs as a possible destination for Bosh and I'm curious why. As it stands, they should have enough money to offer a max contract in addition to Lebron...wouldn't teaming with Lebron and chasing rings with a max deal be more enticing than signing in, say, New York or Chicago??

Chad Ford
  (1:17 PM)

Because I think LeBron is leaving. Not sure why Bosh would go there if LeBron's not there. Now ... with that said. If LeBron stays, then yes, Cleveland could be a player for Bosh. And given the economy and a potential low cap of $55 million in 2010, the Cavs chances of signing him have increased. I don't think that New York or the Nets can clear the room to sign both LeBron and another All-Star.

Cory (Indy)

Chad in your estimation why didnt David Morway, and Larry Bird make a deal with anyone?

Chad Ford
  (1:19 PM)

My guess is that they had two pieces of information we didn't. 1. Mike Dunleavy was probably out for the year. 2. Danny Granger was probably out for three weeks to a month. Neither piece of info was public until after the trade deadline. Why spend the money on a team with no shot of making the playoffs? Remember, the Pacers are losing a lot of money. I think they decided that the prudent thing to do was to take a wait and see approach in the summer. Given the circumstances, I think it was probably the right move.

Chip (NYC)

With the cap situation being what it is; do you think the Knicks might blow off waiting for the 2010 FAs and do what Boston did two years ago. Make big trades on draft night with their expiring contracts and some young players and picks?

Chad Ford
  (1:21 PM)

It's possible. I just don't see how, short of the Knicks finding deals that send them expiring contracts for Jared Jeffries and Eddy Curry, they have enough room to lure LeBron and someone else. In the meantime, they have to give up on two really good young players -- David Lee and Nate Robinson -- to be far enough under to make a deal. I think trades might be a better option.

Ryan, Provo, Utah

Was the latest Jazz-Hawks game an indicator of how good the Jazz will be with everyone healthy?

Chad Ford
  (1:22 PM)

I still think that the Jazz, when healthy, are the Lakers biggest competition in the West.

Noah (Pennington, NJ)

It is possible that the Chandler to OKC trade could be revisited? I mean, NO's options are limited, and I could see OKC's ruthless GM Presti squeezing out even more concessions, like a 1st rounder, or Julian Wright, or taking back a non-expiring contract (like Watson or Collison) for some of OKC's sweet cap space. Am I crazy?

Chad Ford
  (1:25 PM)

Great idea ... the Thunder will have enough room this summer to absorb Chandler's contract without sending anything back. I think they should rethink it. However, I'd be shocked if Jeff Bower would also include Wright. He guts the team too much and Chris Paul will want out.

Dave, SLC

What's going to happen with Boozer this summer?

Chad Ford
  (1:27 PM)

Depends on how well he plays when he returns. If he's 100 percent and in All-Star form, I think he opts out. If he struggles, he'd be better off waiting a year to get back into top form. However, if I'm the Jazz, I'm hoping he opts out. It would give the Jazz enough cap flexibility to re-sign Millsap without incurring the luxury tax.

Arthur, Iceland

You're the Celtics GM.... Mikki Moore or Joe Smith?

Chad Ford
  (1:28 PM)

Mikki Moore is terrible ... Joe Smith all the way.

Ryan(Toronto)

Hey Chad, love the chats, who do you see sneaking into the 8th spot come playoff time in the east and west?

Chad Ford
  (1:31 PM)

I think it will be the Bulls.

Travis (SLC)

So, you're saying you would rather have a Paul Millsap at $8-9 mil per than an All-Star Carlos Boozer for $13-15 mill per? I just don't see that.

Chad Ford
  (1:32 PM)

For sure. So would most teams in the league.

Brad (SLC)

You hope Boozer opts out? Can Millsap really replace him?

Chad Ford
  (1:33 PM)

If Boozer is staying, it will be tough for the Jazz to afford Millsap. One of the teams with cap space (Detroit and Memphis come to mind) would come at him hard. They can't afford to pay Boozer $13 million a year, Millsap $8 million to $9 million a year and Okur $9 million a year.

Andy (Denver)

Does the current economy make it more likely that teams will be unwilling to pay Ricky Rubio's buyout this year? Might we have to wait another year for him to appear in the NBA draft?

Chad Ford
  (1:35 PM)

No ... teams can only pay $500,000 of the buyout. He owes his team $4.7 million in buyout money if he leaves for the NBA. That's a lot. But if he's a Top 3 pick, he'll be able to afford it, especially when you factor in the endorsement deals this kid will get. I still think he's coming or, at the very least, will test the waters.

Alex (Ames)

Is Brandon Jennings getting anything out of his Lottomatica experience other than good pasta?

Chad Ford
  (1:36 PM)

Yes. He's playing in a great league against Men ... not boys. But ... I think the chance to play on a college team and thrive as a player would've been better for his confidence and certainly for his draft stock. Only time will tell if he made the right choice, but right now, I'd say no.

Chad Ford
  (1:37 PM)

And by the way ... all of those stories about other high school players following in Jennings' shoes. Forget about it. Not only has Jennings not shined overseas, but the economy is hitting international basketball worse than the NBA. The big money just won't be there. A number of teams are folding overseas and/or not paying their players right now.

Matt (blacksburg, va)

I have to know what kind of player you think Cole Aldrich can be in the NBA since you have him ranked so highly in your player rankings for the draft? REALLY a lottery? He is NEVER averaging over 15 points per game in the NBA!

Chad Ford
  (1:39 PM)

Doesn't matter. If he averages 15 and 10 ... he'd be one of the top centers in the league and would go a lot higher than we have him ranked. What's Hasheem Thabeet going to average? Aldrich is a much more polished offensive player. He's a similar rebounder. Thabeet is a better shot blocker and bigger, but that's it.

Sandy (Charlottesville, VA)

Tell me Ty Lawson's stock is up. He's shooting the lights out.

Chad Ford
  (1:39 PM)

It's up ... but I think his ceiling is late lottery. More likely he's a mid first round pick.

G (DC)

A follow up to Andy's question on Rubio... might Gtown's collapse make Monroe want to stay another year? I've heard (somewhat unreliably) from a friend of the Holliday family that Jrue may not come out either. Any legitimacy there? The draft is already bad - how much worse can it get?

Chad Ford
  (1:41 PM)

I think Holliday SHOULD stay. He really needs a year at the point for UCLA to prove he's a one. Scouts still like him, despite the lack of production, but he'd go higher if he waited a year. As for Monroe, he's a Top 5 pick. I think he's coming. Georgetown's collapse isn't his fault.

spencer, memphis

what do you think about Tyreke Evans' chances in this draft? He has looked solid and coachable with an upside that looks unmatched in freshman guard play.

Chad Ford
  (1:42 PM)

He's going to go anywhere from late lottery to mid first round. He's a two guard without a great stroke ... that hurt's him. However, he's done a good job of running the point and he's a beast taking it to the basket.

Mike, OKC

I'm really impressed with Willie Warren. Where does he go? Is he a first rounder?

Chad Ford
  (1:44 PM)

For sure. We've had him ranked between 13 and 22 most of the year. In the past two weeks he's moved up to No. 9 on our big board. With Blake Griffin out with a concussion ... you're seeing just how special he is. If it was clear he was a point guard, he'd be a Top 5 pick. His combo status drives down his stock ... but just a little.

Chris (chicago)

tyreke evans = larry hughes

Chad Ford
  (1:44 PM)

I was going to say Jerry Stackhouse.

Rob Todd, Pittsburgh, Pa [via mobile]

Do you think if DeJuan Blair came out this year he would be a first round pick?

Chad Ford
  (1:45 PM)

Yes. His range is somewhere between mid to late first round. He's undersized, but makes up for it with long arms, toughness and a terrific motor. I love him. I think I'd take him earlier than most GMs right now, but that may change as we get closer to the draft.

Stu (Philly)

Any chance this whole "getting brushed on the head and getting a concussion" thing hurts Griffin's stock? I know there's no one near his level, but man that's a strange thing to happen. Concussions can always linger and OKC just turned down a trade for someone because of a toe injury when they'd been playing on it all year already.

Chad Ford
  (1:47 PM)

I seriously doubt it. Unless he's out for an extended period of time ... concussions aren't as big of a problem in the NBA as they are in the NFL. In a weird way, it kind of continues to help him. He's such a warrior inside ... I don't know a GM in the league that doesn't love that.

Matt (Denver)

It seems like Chase Budinger's stock drops every year (I think you have him in the early 2nd round). What happened to this kid? Wasn't he a lottery lock a couple of drafts ago (in a stronger draft)?

Chad Ford
  (1:48 PM)

He's still a great athlete and he can shoot the ball ... but he's never taken over the way his talent suggests, he doesn't really use his athleticism much in his game and his laid back demeanor really scares GMs. He's probably ranked too low ... but that's what happens when for the last two years you don't live up to expectations.

Andy (Rochester, NY)

Johnny Flynn started the season off as one of the top three point guards in the nation but has since plateaued a bit. Do you think he'll enter the draft, or does he stay and become a potential lottery pick next year?

Chad Ford
  (1:51 PM)

Tough call. This draft is loaded with point guards so he might be better off with another year at Syracuse. Then again, a few scouts see him as a potential late lottery to mid first round pick. The opinions on him vary across the league.

Kiel (Durham)

What is the word on Gerald Henderson? Do you think he will leave after this year? How high can he go?

Chad Ford
  (1:51 PM)

I think he'll test the waters and he should be a mid to late first rounder.

Dave (steel city)

HOW CAN HASHEEM THABEET BE DRAFTED AHEAD OF DEJAUN BLAIR!!?? Blair dominated him head to head

Chad Ford
  (1:52 PM)

Teams fall in love with 7-foot-3 over 6-foot-6 big men ... even when the 6-foot-6 guy dominates the 7-foot-3 guy.

Sandy (Charlottesville, VA)

Is Stephen Curry still a lottery pick? He sure puts up a lot of 8-25 nights for such a great shooter.

Chad Ford
  (1:54 PM)

He does ... but it's mostly because he doesn't have solid teammates. He's playing a lot of one-on-five. In the NBA, that shouldn't be a problem. No one will be looking for Curry to be Michael Jordan. They hope he's more like Steve Nash.

Quincy Douby (Wondering)

Stephen Curry - trust me, don't come out early. Stay in school as long as you can.

Chad Ford
  (1:54 PM)

Ouch!

The Big Jabawockee [via mobile]

Mr. Ford. Who's draft stock is soaring and who is plumeting into the depths of the Antarctic Basketball Association?

Chad Ford
  (1:56 PM)

I'd say Willie Warren is the hottest name right now. I think he's the best freshman in college basketball this year. As far as dropping, Austin Daye is taking a pretty big hit for his so-so play in Gonzaga this year.

Adam Morrison (Wondering)

I'm gonna have to agree with Quincy too. Putting up alot of points in college doesn't quite translate as well as some think.

Chad Ford
  (1:57 PM)

Double ouch!

Chad Ford
  (1:57 PM)

Where's Bill Simmons to defend these guys?

Chad Ford
  (1:58 PM)

Gotta run everyone. We'll do it again next week. Look for an update on our Draft Big Board later this week.