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May 25, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Chad Ford

Chad Ford
  (1:01 PM)

Aloha everyone. Thanks for coming to the chat. With the NBA Conference Finals rolling, Free Agent Frenzy hitting a fever pitch and the NBA Draft just a month away ... there's a TON to talk about. Let's roll ...

Eddie (Hoboken, NJ)

Chad, great piece on the NY wooing LeBron story. Now, with all that you had said, do you think it will work?

Chad Ford
  (1:04 PM)

I've been skeptical for months that he'd go to the Knicks. I think the Bulls have more talent to work with and I thought Miami could also be a great destination. But I have to say, I was pretty intrigued when I heard the full pitch. All of my sources that I have say they believe he's heading to Chicago ... but the truth is no one really knows.

Matt (Milwaukee)

We talk about Lebron so much. Any chance Wade surprises everyone and bolts for someplace else???

Chad Ford
  (1:06 PM)

I think he will bolt if Miami can't land a top tier free agent. If LeBron and Bosh both go elsewhere ... he's going to be tempted to move to either Chicago or NY. With that said, I think Wade will lead the charge to convince one of those two guys to come to Miami. If they won't, I just don't see Amar'e Stoudemire or Carlos Boozer being enough to make the Heat title contenders.

Sam D (NY)

What kind of chances do you think the Knicks have of realizing the ideal FA scenarios (Lebron/Bosh, Wade/Bosh, Lebron/Dirk, Wade/Dirk) you discuss in your Lebron article? If they can't pull this off what kind of FAs will they pursue? Please don't tell me that max contracts will be offered to Boozer/Johnson

Chad Ford
  (1:09 PM)

I actually think they have a better chance of getting Wade/Bosh than LeBron/Bosh. It sounds like Dirk Nowitzki really wants to stay in Dallas and this is really just haggling over the numbers. I don't think the Knicks would offer max deals to Boozer, Joe Johnson or Amar'e. Instead I think they'd add some more mid-level free agents and save some of their cap space for 2011. But I think Mike D'Antoni would have a tough time living with that outcome. He came to NY to win starting this summer.

Jeff (jax)

Lebron took the shorter contact last time. Is there any talk he might do it again? What's the percentage that this might happen?

Chad Ford
  (1:10 PM)

I don't think he, Wade or Bosh will because of the new collective bargaining agreement that is coming. It's likely to reduce the amount of max contracts by up to 40%. This summer is the last chance to get a huge, five or six year contract. Expect all three to sign 5 or 6 year deals.

Craig (Houston)

Don't the Rockets have the most attractive combination of picks and players to Sign and Trade one of the Big 3?

Chad Ford
  (1:13 PM)

They're going to try. I spoke with a Rockets source in Chicago who said they were going to make a strong run at Bosh via sign-and-trade. However, a few hours later I learned that the Rockets weren't on Bosh's short list. The Rockets do have some pieces to offer ... but it sounds like Bosh doesn't want to go home to Texas.

Jason (NYC)

Do people really think Wade and LeBron could not play together? After the Olympics? The All-Star games? The 6 Jordan / Pippen rings? All the West / Baylor success? The fact that LeBron can play any position on the court and Pat Riley is one of the most versatile coaches in the league?

Chad Ford
  (1:15 PM)

Not so much that as it isn't an ideal use of both guys. Both guys really are at their best when they have the ball in their hands. In either scenario, you take it out of their hands too often. That's why most believe Bosh is a better fit. But you're right, they'd be very good and figure out a way.

Brett (Brooklyn)

Chad, a very interesting scenario that was brought up on the FAN here in New York..what are the chances the Nets could create a package including the 3rd pick to the Hornets for CP3?

Chad Ford
  (1:17 PM)

Depends on how in love the Hornets are with Darren Collison. Collison was great, but I think it would take more than the No. 3 pick to pry away Chris Paul.

Adam (Philly)

So much talk about Lebron, Bosh and Wade. What's the latest on Rudy Gay? Does Memphis resign him? What teams are targeting his services?

Chad Ford
  (1:19 PM)

Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley is claiming he'll match any offer. Of course every team that has a restricted free agent claims the same thing. I'm skeptical he would pay Gay if he got a max offer from somewhere else. Gay isn't really worth that money and the Grizzlies have been so careful about spending. I think the darkhorse to land Gay is the Wizards. Pair him with John Wall and Arenas and you have some interesting building blocks.

Phil (Chicago )

Chad, with your comments about LeBron and Wade playing better with the ball in their hands, doesn't that work the same with LeBron and Rose. Would Rose and LeBron be a good fit ?

Chad Ford
  (1:21 PM)

Not ideal for the same reason. But if the Bulls land Bosh and can also keep Noah (I'm sure the Raptors would try to pry away Noah in a Bosh deal but I'm told the Bulls won't agree to trading him) ... they would be very, very good. The idea is that in New York and Miami, where there are more limited assets, it doesn't make sense to spend all of your money on those two guys ... and not have any cash left for the surrounding cast.

paul (boston)

do you like the chances of the celtics winning the championship this season

Chad Ford
  (1:22 PM)

At the start of the year I thought 5%. Now I think it's even if they play the Lakers. 65% if they play the Suns.

Jeff (Jax)

Enough lebron talk. I am big Orlando fan. What can the Magic do if anything for next year? reddick is better than VC and while Lewis is a perfect fit for this team his 20M contract is not. Are they stuck with this team for the next 2 years.

Chad Ford
  (1:24 PM)

I think they are. That's what happens when you overpay guys in an effort to win now. If it doesn't work, you've painted yourself into a pretty small corner. I don't think anyone's taking on VC's contract next year nor are they taking on Lewis' But I wouldn't give up hope Magic fans. Celtics are the better team this year. But next year ... given the age of Boston, Magic should be back in the pole position in the East.

J (Milwaukee)

Anyone in the Lakers front office get excited when they were on Bosh's list?

Chad Ford
  (1:26 PM)

No, because they knew about this in February. The Raptors and Lakers had the parameters of a deal in place for a Bosh for Bynum deal. LA eventually pulled out because they were unsure how the addition of Bosh would affect chemistry mid-season and they were concerned that Bosh could bolt via free agency in the summer. Both concerns should go away this summer and the two teams agreed to revisit talks after the playoffs ended. They are in a very good position to land Bosh if that's where he wants to play. It's the Raptors first choice among the sign-and-trade options available to them.

Little David (Corona Del Mar, Ca.)

Mr Ford. I'm in 4th grade and love the NBA. My teacher knows Larry Brown and said that he might take over the Lakers job. If thats true do you think Kobe would be in favor of? Thanks

Chad Ford
  (1:29 PM)

Hey Little David. There is someone in all 30 NBA cities who knows Larry Brown. They all think Larry is about ready to take over the head coaching gig. Larry has eyes for every team in the league. Always has. LA? Sure if Phil Jackson leaves for Chicago.

PaulieP (Scottsdale)

Chad, Amare refutes your report that his mind is made up (go figure), but if you're correct, and he does leave, what does that leave for the Suns? I've heard that the money doesn't line up to allow them to sign a big free agent, is that accurate?

Chad Ford
  (1:32 PM)

I saw that. Hey, at least he didn't call me a liar this time. If my source, and it was a credible one, was right, he's leaving and the Suns could be in bad shape without him. I'm sure they'd make a run at Dirk ... they could get around $11 million under the cap next summer if they lose Amare and Channing Frye. Not sure what Dirk wants ... but it's a start.

Cosmo (Anytown, USA)

Is Doug Collins a good fit for this Sixers teams?

Chad Ford
  (1:34 PM)

I don't think so. ALL coaches want to win now. But older ones have even less patience in the rebuilding process. I'm not sure Doug is ready to be patient regardless of what he said in his press conference. We saw how well he developed Kwame Brown and Richard Hamilton in Washington. I think that's why you have to give a lot of creedence to the idea that the Sixers may trade the No. 2 pick.

Rob (Chi-town)

Chad, for some reason I'm very intrigued with Tom Thibodeau as a head coaching candidate for the bulls. Given that he's not allowed to speak to media, I don't know much about him. Just wondering if you know how he's viewed around the league and does he have what it takes to transform the Bulls into a defensive monster.

Chad Ford
  (1:36 PM)

I think this is the year that Thibodeau gets a job ... but it won't be Chicago or NJ just yet. They've got to wait and see what happens with LeBron, Wade and Bosh first. You don't want to hire a head coach until the guy you're wooing in free agency signs off on it.

Adam (Eldridge)

Chad, since Bosh to OKC doesn't look like it will work, what are the chances David Lee goes there? Or do you see the Thunder not making any big moves this off season?

Chad Ford
  (1:38 PM)

I'm not sure Thunder will spend their money ... I hear they're willing to take back a player with a contract in order to move up higher in the draft. If they can get Top 5, look for them to run toward DeMarcus Cousins. In top 10, Daniel Orton.

Dave (santa rosa, ca)

Could Dirk opt out. Mavs then sign a Max FA, and then the Mavs resign Dirk for Max as their own FA, thanks.

Chad Ford
  (1:39 PM)

No. Dirk will have a cap hold which will count against the Mavs cap. But even if he didn't and you wiped Dirk's salary off the books, Mavs would still be over the cap.

Pete (Philly)

What could the Sixers reasonably expect to get from the Wolves to move down to #2?

Chad Ford
  (1:40 PM)

4 & 16. But the word is the Sixers want someone to take on Elton Brand's contract ... with 3 years, $51 million left on it, I think that's going to be a poison pill to swallow.

Tom (NJ)

When's the next mock draft?

Chad Ford
  (1:40 PM)

Working on it. Wed or Thursday. Lots of updates based on my conversations with NBA execs in Chicago for the NBA Draft Combine last week.

Gerry (Philly)

How can you positively say that Evan Turner does not fit Philly's style? Doug Collins said he will mold his team around its personnel. He fits perfectly with Iguodala at the 3.

Chad Ford
  (1:41 PM)

Two non shooters at the wing isn't a great recipe for winning usually.

Derek (Detroit)

Elton Brand and the number 2 for Prince, filler and the number 7, who says no?

Chad Ford
  (1:41 PM)

Joe Dumars

Josh (DC)

How much would Lebron get in an open market, no cap system?

Chad Ford
  (1:43 PM)

I can't count that high.

Gary (Los Angeles)

Igoudala to the Clippers for the #8? Would give the sixers the #8 along with Evan Turner at #2.Would give the Clippers Davis, Gordon, AI, Griffin and Kaman

Chad Ford
  (1:45 PM)

If the Sixers had hired a young coach with a taste for rebuilding, that would be a terrific suggestion. The Clips have the cap room to absorb Iguodala, it would save the Sixers money and give them two building blocks. However ... I think the Sixers are going in the opposite direction.

David (Louisville)

Bigger impact next year: John Wall or Blake Griffin?

Chad Ford
  (1:45 PM)

Wall ... and I only say that because Griffin is on the Clippers.

T (Boston)

In the past I've really enjoyed the articles on the "draft tiers" that are used by teams to help make the decision between drafting for need and drafting the best player. Will we be seeing that article for the 2010 draft soon? Thanks

Chad Ford
  (1:46 PM)

Coming soon ... just waiting for the Big Board to settle down a bit. With so much info coming in from the pre-draft camp (measurements, athletic testing, medical) + the workouts in Minnesota, everything is in a bit of a flux at the moment. Another two weeks and I think we'll have the tiers sorted out. Right now they vary wildly from team to team.

Jerry (Sacramento)

Aren't you just a tool for agents this time of year?

Chad Ford
  (1:51 PM)

Look, they try. After the Minnesota workout ended yesterday, I was blasted with texts/e-mails/phone calls from agents touting how well their players did. In Chicago, I was grabbed by virtually every one of them in the lobby of the hotel, each pressing their case why they believe their client is better than so-and-so. However, I don't use agents as sources on the draft. Free agency? Sure, agents often have more knowledge than teams on where their client is going. But in the draft, I only use team sources for rankings and evaluations. If agents give me info, I have to be able to verify it with a team. We actually have very high reporting standards at ESPN. Now, do NBA teams sometimes mislead me? It happens. However, when it happens once, they no longer become a credible source in my eyes and I only use what are credible sources.

David (Louisville)

How many GM's are speaking with a day this time of year?

Chad Ford
  (1:53 PM)

Depends on the day. Last week in Chicago I had a chance to talk to virtually every GM in the league. On an average day, around 5 to 10 GMs or assistant GMs per day.

John (Ft Wayne)

Do the Pacers have any hope of getting a franchise type guy to join Granger in Indy?

Chad Ford
  (1:55 PM)

I actually think they only way it happens is to trade Granger (who's value is very high) and try to land two or three very good assets in return. If the Pacers could, for example, turn Granger into the No. 4 pick, 16 and Jonny Flynn ... I think you have to consider such a scenario. They will have lots of cap room in 2011, but the free agent class isn't off the charts and Indiana isn't a top free agency destination. I think the Pacers have to seriously think about blowing up the team all the way, and collecting lots of assets the same way the Thunder did.

steve Williams (ma)

Any chance POrtland uses Oden to move up in the draft?

Chad Ford
  (1:57 PM)

I doubt it. His trade value is too low right now. He needs to be healthy before teams would give up the farm for him.

Bob (Toledo)

Do you see Dumars being able to move Prince and/or Hamilton?

Chad Ford
  (1:58 PM)

Prince should be moveable now that he's in the last year of his deal. Pistons would like to move up into the Top 3 or 4 in the draft to get a chance at Derrick Favors or DeMarcus Cousins. They need a center badly.

Jake (Brooklyn)

What are the odds that the Knicks trade Eddy Curry's dead body for a rotation player?

Chad Ford
  (1:59 PM)

Possible. He's an expiring contract. If the Knicks were willing to take back a long-term deal, they could work out something.

Chad Ford
  (1:59 PM)

Gotta run everyone. Thanks for coming. Look for Mock Draft v3.0 coming soon.