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May 18, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Chad Ford

Chad Ford
  (1:00 PM)

Aloha everyone, thanks for coming to the chat today. Big night for draft fans tonight with the Draft Lottery at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. We also have a big playoff game tonight and of course, I keep hearing LeBron James might be available this summer. Let's roll.

Rick (Boston MA)

Superstars claim to only care about winning championships. So why wouldn't LBJ, Wade, and Bosh toss their egos aside and take less money to play for a title together? Or is it the sad truth that the almighy dollar will always outweigh logic and strategy forever in the NBA?

Chad Ford
  (1:02 PM)

They might. The only plausible scenario is in Miami where the Heat could keep Wade and, with a few moves, have enough space to grab LeBron and Bosh if the three took small pay cuts. But you have to ask yourself ... would it be a challenge to them. It's one thing to win, but players want to be challenged too. As long as Miami stayed healthy, they'd steamroll people. I think the chances of two of them hooking up in Chicago or NY are much more likely.

andreas (ny, ny)

bigger draw for LBJ on july 1st...calipari to the bulls, bosh to the nyk, or wall to the nets?

Chad Ford
  (1:04 PM)

Tough one. I think Calipari to the Bulls, then Bosh to the Knicks, then Wall to the Nets in that order. I keep hearing that the Bulls are atop his list at the moment. That could change, but that's the word around the league at the moment.

Michael (Colorado)

What are your top 3 teams for where Lebron James will end up playing next season. What is the team that lands him?

Chad Ford
  (1:05 PM)

1. Bulls. 2. Knicks 3. Heat ... I think the darkhorse is Dallas who'll try to acquire him via sign-and-trade. As for the Cavs, it doesn't look very good at the moment, but things can change. I think owner Dan Gilbert would essentially have to give him the GM job as well to keep him there.

Dave (charlottesville)

Which of the possible series would be more competitive?1. LA-Orlando2. LA-Boston3. Suns-Boston4. Suns-OrlandoIs there any hope for Suns-Celtics to even happen?

Chad Ford
  (1:07 PM)

I think LA Orlando would be the best match. But Lakers - Celtics would be good too. I have to hand it to the Celtics. They are playing much better than I thought they would. They look like the 2008 version of the team right now. Very, very dangerous.

Mike (Reno, NV)

Hey Chad, do you think last night was indicative of things to come for the Suns or was is the Lakers played about as well as they could and the Suns can play better? I still think the Suns can pull this out.

Chad Ford
  (1:08 PM)

I thought the Suns would be more competitive, but the Lakers have a big size advantage and this game made it clear that they can play the uptempo game if that's what the Suns are giving them. No one in the NBA has more talent than the Lakers right now. As long as they are playing together and healthy, they'll roll. But with Ron Artest on the team and Kobe having some knee issues, you never know.

Mark (Idaho Falls)

Don't you think Mike Brown's job is in serious danger? Losing in the conference semis with the reigning 2-time MVP should mean you need someone better on the sidelines, right?

Chad Ford
  (1:10 PM)

Yes, I think he's going to fired. But here's the thing. He'll immediately get interest from a ton of teams. The Sixers, Hornets, Clippers, Nets, Bulls and Hawks are all looking for head coaches. One of them is going to make Brown a big offer. On the other hand, who is Cleveland getting? I think it's a big mistake to fire your head coach before knowing who will replace him. That may be what's taking the Cavs so long.

Joe (DC)

Hey Chad. I'm pumped for tonight. Just a stupid question, but does ESPN track how many times the ESPN lottery game has been played/simulated? I know I've done it at least 200 times hoping the Wiz get #1 every time!

Chad Ford
  (1:12 PM)

Millions upon millions ...

JD (Ny)

Chad, tell me the Nets are gonna win the lottery tonight! What does that do for their chances of landing Lebron, or another top-flight free agent?

Chad Ford
  (1:14 PM)

They have the best chance (25%) and the most at stake. But remember, the odds are against them. There's a 75% chance their not the first pick and a 39% chance that they are the 4th pick. If they can land Wall, they suddenly become much more competitive in the LeBron James sweepstakes. if they don't land Wall, I think we can scratch them off the list. That's some pretty big stakes.

Chris (Nashville TN)

If the Wolves were to win the draft lottery tonight, should they stick w/ the sure thing and draft Evan Turner at #1, or if they decide to trade down, what current players could they receive in trading down?

Chad Ford
  (1:16 PM)

I think you take Wall. All 14 teams most likely take Wall and then figure out what to do (either trade him or trade someone else on the roster or figure out how to work him in with existing players). I've heard through a source that they are very, very high on Evan Turner. He's a better fit given their existing personnel and one source told me that they've given signals to Turner that he'd be the No. 1 pick if they won it. However, I think the most likely scenario is the Wolves take Wall and then start negotiating.

Mike (Sacramento)

If the Sacramento Kings win the lottery do they take John Wall or do they trade the pick?Would John Wall and Tyreke work together. They both seem like ball dominant guards.

Chad Ford
  (1:17 PM)

They are ... but most in the league believe Evans is really a two guard. I think they'd be pretty awesome actually ... though their lack of shooting ability is an issue. If the Kings land Wall, Turner or Derrick Favors ... they're going to make a big jump next year.

Jim (Bay Area)

If the Warriors get the #1 pick. Do they Keep it? Or do they shop it to get a big man?

Chad Ford
  (1:18 PM)

Keep it all the way. Wall and Stephen Curry would be a great backcourt because Curry doesn't need the ball in his hands to be effective. It also would allow them to explore moving Monta Ellis, something I think that has to happen under the new Warriors regime.

Doug (Utah)

Are any of the teams in the 5-8 range (Wizards, 76ers, Pistons, Clippers) interested in trading down?

Chad Ford
  (1:21 PM)

They all could. With the exception of Wes Johnson, there isn't a lot of excitement about the guys ranked from 6-10 right now. They all have upside, but some fatal flaws that scare you. The draft is deep, but after the first 5, you're talking mostly about major risk/reward guys or role players. So the difference between 6 and 20 isn't as big as in other years ... however, the sixth pick makes significantly more money.

John (Sacto)

Ford, settle this friendly debate. Which of the Nets, Wolves, Kings, Warriors and Wizards draft Turner over Favors/Cousins at No. 2?

Chad Ford
  (1:22 PM)

I think all of them do.

billy (Detroit)

If my beloved Pistons get the 2nd pick do you think the best move would be to pass on Turner and take Cousins? I disagree with that, I think you always take the BPA regardless of position...

Chad Ford
  (1:22 PM)

Joe D agrees with you. He made that mistake once with Darko (taking position over best available talent). He won't make it again.

Justin (Atlanta)

Who should the Utah Jazz target in the draft assuming they stay where they are after tonight (9th)?

Chad Ford
  (1:24 PM)

I think Greg Monroe, Ed Davis and Gordon Hayward (and maybe even Luke Babbitt) are the guys most likely to be considered in that range. I think Monroe has the edge right now.

Bill (Indy)

If the Pacers stay at 10 will they reach for someone like Bledsoe or Bradley or just add an athletic 4. We really need help at the point.

Chad Ford
  (1:25 PM)

I think that's the debate. Bradley and Bledsoe have a lot of upside, but they're not ready. They also need shotblocking which Udoh, Ed Davis or Hassan Whiteside could provide. I think those 5 are the players they'll be focusing on.

Reggie (Indy)

Pacers are going to take Gordon Hayward, aren't they? They can't resist.

Chad Ford
  (1:26 PM)

I don't think they will. He doesn't fit a need. Would be tons of pressure on him. I think they'll go point or with an athletic, shotblocking 4. And besides, he may not even be there. I'm told Washington and Utah are also high on him.

vk (dc)

If Cousins wasn't such an idiot would he be the #1 overall pick?

Chad Ford
  (1:27 PM)

I don't think idiot is the right word. Moody may be more like it. But yes, if he has the off-the-court rep of Evan Turner, he would be in very strong competition with Wall for No. 1

Blakeley (Edina, MN)

You gave MN favorable reviews for their recent hire of Tony Ronzone. What about Ronzone impresses you so much?

Chad Ford
  (1:29 PM)

Amazing eye for talent. I've known Tony for years. He's got a sixth sense about college and international players. For a GM like David Kahn who didn't come up from a traditional scouting background, a guy like Tony is perfect. The move gave me a lot more faith in the Wolves to make some good decisions the next few years.

Rob (Texas)

I feel like there's a real drought in great young NBA GMs. Who are the guys owners should be looking at ... so many teams feel like they need fresh ideas and faces like Daryl Morey ...

Chad Ford
  (1:34 PM)

There's a lot of talent in the system. There are some guys who have been trained by the best. David Morway of the Pacers (trained by Donnie Walsh), Dennis Lindsey of the Spurs (trained by RC Buford and Carroll Dawson), Tom Penn formerly of the Blazers (trained by Jerry West and Kevin Pritchard), Rich Cho of the Thunder (working for Sam Presti) and Bobby Marks of the Nets (under Rod Thorn forever). These guys are young, innovative and have great experience. Those are five guys who I think should be running their own teams.

Casey (Indy)

Is it possible that Greg Monroe moves into the top 5 after workouts?

Chad Ford
  (1:34 PM)

Opposite. He's not a great athlete. I think he looks better in the games (basketball IQ, passing ability) than he's going to look in workouts.


With the first pick, of the 2011 NBA draft, the Cleveland Cavs select, Harrison Barnes.................

Chad Ford
  (1:36 PM)

If LeBron leaves, that sounds about right.

Lee (Fargo)

Could Wall and Rubio play together? They both seem long enough to guard most 2's, but they would need some shooters around them.

Chad Ford
  (1:36 PM)

Yes, I think they could

Harathon (Mississippi)

Is it just me or do you think Orton has as much potential as almost any big in this draft?! I mean he's got the perfect body for an NBA center.

Chad Ford
  (1:37 PM)

That's what many GMs feel. But the emphasis is on potential. He didn't do much at Kentucky to warrant a Top 14 pick. But I think a team like the Hornets, drafting at No. 11, would take a long look. They need size badly.

Oliver (Philly)

If the Sixers don't get lucky tonight, who can justify taking at the 6th spot?

Chad Ford
  (1:38 PM)

I don't think the draft is necessarily the way to go for the Sixers given their personnel. I think I'd consider swapping it for a veteran.

Robbie (So Cal)

Where do you think that the Clippers will go in the draft?

Chad Ford
  (1:38 PM)

Ruin someone's career.

Joe (CT)

Luke Babbit seems to be moving up the board any chance he falls to the Celtics?

Chad Ford
  (1:39 PM)

A possibility. The team I keep hearing loves them is the Grizzlies. I could see them taking him as high as 12. He's a tough one for me. He's very talented offensively, but I don't know who he guards in the pros.

Rod Thorn (NJ)

We WILL get the number 1 pick. Trust me.

Chad Ford
  (1:42 PM)

If that came from Mikhiel Prokhorov, I'd be much more convinced and a little more intimidated.

David (Laguna, CA)

Chad, despite the amount of cap space available for several teams, shouldn't this be deemed the summer of restraint? Lebron deserves max money, but everyone else is due less than what he gets paid. If not, a lockout is more likely, and the players will have their pay cut similar to hockey players a few years ago. If Joe Johnson signs to play next to Lebron, he should be getting $4-$5 million less per year than Lebron as an aging support player.

Chad Ford
  (1:43 PM)

That's exactly right ... though I'd include D Wade and Bosh into the equation. Everyone else I'd be pretty conservative on, knowing every NBA player goes on a 40 percent off sale starting in 2011.

John (Canada)

Chad, the only Raptors-related chatter we hear these days regards which team Bosh might go to. But I'm assuming the franchise will continue to exist without CB4. Do you think the Raps will enter a rebuilding phase without Bosh?

Chad Ford
  (1:45 PM)

Most likely. He'll be hard to replace. I think Bryan Colangelo will work hard to do a sign-and-trade. So many teams are interested, he might be able to get back a decent player. I'm sure the Bulls, if they can land LeBron, would offer Luol Deng and maybe their draft pick. The Rockets, Mavericks, Lakers ... you name it. I still think his best bet is to join the Thunder or Bulls.

Ed (NJ)

Why does Bosh deserve a max?

Chad Ford
  (1:46 PM)

I'm not sure he deserves the max, but in this environment, I think he gets it.

Drew (DC)

Where do you see Whiteside going? What kind of player will he be?

Chad Ford
  (1:48 PM)

Biggest wildcard in the draft. I spoke with one of his high school coaches this weekend. He said the kid could be the next Marcus Camby or be out of the league in a few years. It all depends on who drafts him and how they develop him. He said he's a good kid, but still a bit immature. The key for a lot of these players is to get with a team that develop you on and off the court. Teams have to put that type of investment into him.

Robert (Orlando)

Why are people projecting Solomon Alabi to be a first round pick? He's a good shot blocker but he's a very poor rebounder and doesn't seem to have a good feel for the game.

Chad Ford
  (1:48 PM)

He's big and big guys rise the closer we get to the draft. Happens every year.

Darin (FL)

Do you Patrick Patterson becoming an all star caliber player or just a role player?

Chad Ford
  (1:49 PM)

I'm going with role player.

Frank (Minneapolis)

If the Twolves were at #1, what would be appropriate compensation for the #2 team to move up? next years 1st

Chad Ford
  (1:49 PM)

Another first round pick ... something in the mid first round. Yes, I know the Wolves have 3 picks already, but they are valuable assets.

Jon (Brazil)

Who do you think the Bulls draft at 17? Thanks!

Chad Ford
  (1:50 PM)

Gotta believe a guy like Oklahoma State's James Anderson is a terrific fit there.

Matt (NJ)

Chad, back to the Nets for a second, why would LBJ forego playing with a more mature John Wall (Derrick Rose) to play with a rookie John Wall? Why take the risk?

Chad Ford
  (1:53 PM)

I think playing in Michael Jordan's shadow won't be easy for LeBron. It wouldn't be easy for anyone.

Anthony (Minnetonka)

Tell me the NBA draft lottery isn't rigged to prop up franchises in big markets and/or save basketball in dying markets while leaving smaller market teams to fend for themselves as long as things aren't too bad?

Chad Ford
  (1:55 PM)

It's not rigged. But I think it's a flawed system. But every alternative has it's own drawbacks. I think the Top 3 worst teams should be in the lottery and that's it.

David Stern (New York)

Who should the NBA give the first pick in the draft to?

Chad Ford
  (1:58 PM)

I'll play the our NBA Draft Lottery Machine one time and let's see what the computer says ...The winner of the 2010 NBA Draft Lottery is: The Minnesota Timberwolves.Have fun at the draft lottery tonight. I'll be there and file a new mock draft 15 to 30 minutes after the lottery concludes. Look for it on tonight!