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December 29, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Chad Ford

Chad Ford
  (1:05 PM)

Aloha everyone. Happy Holidays. Thanks for coming today. We'll tackle some NBA in the first half of the chat and then head over to the NBA Draft in the second half. Let's roll ...

Fletch (Ft. Lauderdale)

Happy Holidays, Chad. Do you really think Melo will accept a trade to NJ? If not, have the Nets been collecting assests for nothing, or do you see them pulling off another deal?

Chad Ford
  (1:08 PM)

I do. He prefers NY, no question. But he also doesn't want to risk going into the summer without a deal with the new collective bargaining agreement being negotiated. There will be steep cuts and it would cost Melo serious dollars. So, if at the end of the day the Nets have something the Nuggets want and the Knicks don't, I think he goes to NJ and signs an extension.

KF (KC)

who are the early candidates for most improved player?

Chad Ford
  (1:10 PM)

I think Kevin Love is running away with this one. You could also put Russell Westbrook in the conversation. Eric Gordon may be the third.

Donnie Reece (Atlanta)

Are the Cavs close to making any changes? Any idea what direction they go?

Chad Ford
  (1:12 PM)

They've been quietly shopping their entire roster. They are looking for cap relief, draft picks and young players. They are going to blow it up. Anderson Varejao probably has the most trade value. It's hard to find bigs that play tough defense at that age and price tag. Mo Williams has some value as does Antawn Jamison and J.J. Hickson.

mendel (fl)

The heat have won 15 out of the last 16 games, have a 16 game streak of keeping opp under 100 points, and is 5th in rebounding percentage. Is it fair to say that not only the heat not as bad as their 9-8 start, but even better than we initially thought theyd be?

Chad Ford
  (1:14 PM)

Yes. It clearly took them awhile to get together on offense, but defensively they've been amazing. They're clicking now and once Mike Miller gets back to full strength, he'll be another very valuable weapon. They still lack great size in the paint, but they're going to be tough. But given how Boston is playing and a rejuvenated Magic squad, it's not going to be a cakewalk to the Finals.

Josh (DC)

Gotta start off with the question of the day: Lakers? Panic? Slight worry? Talk to me in April?

Chad Ford
  (1:17 PM)

Talk to me in April. Veteran team who knows that the games in November and December don't decide championships. They do have more competition from veteran teams like the Spurs, Mavs and Jazz this year ... but I think they'll be fine.

Omar (Toronto)

Who's the biggest underachieving team so far in the season?

Chad Ford
  (1:18 PM)

Probably Houston or Portland, though both have had significant injury issues in the early going. Other than that, it's gone pretty much to plan ...

Matt (Chicago)

Where does Varejo end up? New York seems like a good fit, don't know if they have the right assets

Chad Ford
  (1:20 PM)

Probably not. They need to keep cap flexibility for summer of 2011. Thunder could be a dangerous team with Varejao. Also he'd be a great fit on the Pacers. Both teams have expiring contracts and assets to give up. Pistons are another possibility.

Andreas (Hamburg)

Would the NBA benefit from contraction?

Chad Ford
  (1:24 PM)

In theory, yes. I'm not going to get into the debate about whether the players are better now than they were in 80s. But fewer teams = more talent per team. I also think that some of the teams have such a bad track record because of ownership and mismanagement that the league should just get rid of them ... (I'm talking to you Grizzlies, Wolves, Clippers ...). But while we're at it, let's cut the schedule by 25 to 30 games. That would improve the game too. So would a March Madness elimination type tournament where every team made the playoffs. I could keep going. And by the way, none of them are going to happen.

Chad (Pittsburgh)

Hey Chad!! Chad here ...Do you think the suns are making any more trades. They definitely have to get a player who can be projected as the face of the franchise.

Chad Ford
  (1:29 PM)

Yes. But they only real chip they have left is Nash. Who else on the team does anyone really, really want? Robert Sarver has gutted the team. I know Nash is loyal and has said he won't demand a trade and he's fine playing for a lottery team. But if the Suns just let him fade into the sunset, they'll be left with virtually nothing in the tank ... a sort of Cavs West. And in another year or two when Nash starts slowing down, it's going to get ugly. I know Suns fans don't want him to go, but the best way Nash can help the Suns is by getting traded for young assets to start the rebuilding process.

John (LAS Vegas)

Chances Kings trade Landry or Dalamebert back to Houston?

Chad Ford
  (1:31 PM)

Possible. Rockets are very, very active right now. Virtually everyone on the team is for sale for the right price ... I've heard Yao, Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Battier all mentioned. Rockets want/need a star right now and are willing to package players together to get it. Problem is their talent level is solid, but overpaid. Martin and Scola are good, but few teams want those contracts. Yao is solid as an expiring contract, but there are tons of those floating around. If you believe Yao will come back, could be some value there, but he's an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Jack (NYC)

Is it too early to call Evan Turner a bust? Why is he playing so poorly?

Chad Ford
  (1:34 PM)

Too early. Needs the ball in his hands more. Bad fit for the Philly team. Fit matters in the draft. Some players get great opportunities, others struggle based on minutes, system, etc. Turner was always a questionable fit there ... but neither the Sixers nor his agent understood it. They do now.

John (Canada)

Why did so many teams pass on Ed Davis? He put up 17/12/3/3 last night and altered almost every shot that Dallas put up in the paint.

Chad Ford
  (1:35 PM)

Didn't put up big numbers at North Carolina (paging Harrison Barnes) and some questioned his work ethic. Plus he had a broken wrist at the end of the season which limited workouts. But it was a mistake. He should've gone much higher.

Bryon (Indianapolis, IN)

Are there any rumblings/rumors about the Pacers looking to replace O'Brien? It looks like the players have stopped responding to his inconsistent rotations.

Chad Ford
  (1:39 PM)

I haven't heard them. My guess is Pacers are going to wait it out this season ... and find a new coach once the new CBA is in place. But agreed that it's hard to understand what he's doing out there on a game to game basis. The substitution patterns and in game strategy versus the Celtics last night was terrible. Pacers should have a better record than they show ... and much of that is on a coach that thinks James Posey is one of his three best players, that TJ Ford is better than Darren Collison and that Mike Dunleavy is better in the 4th Q than Brandon Rush.

Nick (Wisconsin)

I've heard rumors that the Bulls are targeting guys like: Courtney Lee, JR Smith, OJ Mayo and Stephen Jackson but are those guys realistic to attain? Would love to see any of those guys rolling next to D-Rose on the perimeter.

Chad Ford
  (1:42 PM)

They do need another scoring 2 guard ... but honestly ... who do they give up to get him? Assuming they want to keep their core together ... they don't have a lot to offer other teams.

Jason (Sacramento)

What's wrong with the Kings? So much talent with so little results? coaching?

Chad Ford
  (1:47 PM)

Not as much talent as you think. No chemistry. Way overrated front office. Evans and Cousins are good individual players, not great team players. Rest of the supporting cast has a few solid players like Landry, Casspi ... but not much else to be excited about. I know lots of people love Geoff Petrie, but I don't get what they're so excited about. Team has been terrible for a while. You're supposed to get great players with very high draft picks. Rest of his moves are pretty questionable. Since the roster has already essentially been blown up ... might be time for changes at the top.

Trevor (San Antonio)

David Thorpe wrote Derrick Williams should be a top 10 pick in this year's draft. Do you agree? I've loved the little of him I've seen so far.

Chad Ford
  (1:51 PM)

Sort of. He and Kemba Walker have been top two players this season in college. But my good friend Thorpe has also said John Henson is a Top 10 pick. I'm assuming he'd include the consensus guys like Harrison Barnes, Perry Jones, Kyrie Irving, Terrence Jones, Jared Sullinger, Enes Kanter and Josh Selby in the Top 10. Some think Kemba Walker is there too. And there's some very good international guys like Valanciunas, Vesley and Montiejunas. My only point being there's lots of "Top 10" players in the draft right now ... but on 10 spots. If Williams is in (and I'm not saying he shouldn't be) then who is out?

Chris (Broadview Heights, OH)

Do you really believe that the potential NBA labor issues will have an impact on college players looking to enter the draft? I keep hearing that but I don't think that makes any $en$e.

Chad Ford
  (1:52 PM)

It won't with the Top 10 guys. Won't with international players either. But after that I think it could really have a chilling effect hurting the overall depth of the draft. All the feedback I'm getting from agents is that most of the kids are scared of being out of work and not being able to develop their game. It should be a good year for college basketball this April ...

M (Columbus)

What are your thoughts on where Jared Sullinger's would be drafted if he came out after this year?

Chad Ford
  (1:53 PM)

Top 5 or 6. He's undersized, but he's strong, rebounds and his length makes up for some of his lack of size. He'll be a very good player in the NBA (Paul Millsap?)

Jim (Akron)

Is Harrison Barnes a top 10 pick right now? Ton of hype but was terrible early on. Admittedly he has gotten better but with a top 10 pick I'd rather go for the sure thing rather than potential.

Chad Ford
  (1:56 PM)

There are very few sure things Jim. Barnes hasn't played like a No. 1 pick ... but who has that also has the physical upside NBA teams are looking for. Kyrie Irving was the closest, but he's now out with an injury. Perry Jones, Terrence Jones, Josh Selby, John Henson all huge upsides, but risks. Kemba Walker, Derrick Williams, Sullinger, Marcus Morris more sure things, but lack great upsides at their positions. Most teams looking for both high in the draft. This draft not giving them a lot of hope.

Colin (Cleveland)

Seasons greetings Chad, does Norris Cole have a shot at being drafted or is he a jack of all trade master of none? Same for David Lighty??

Chad Ford
  (1:57 PM)

Lots of scouts like Cole a lot. Some like Lighty too. I think Cole has a very good shot at the late first/second round. Lighty a possible second round pick too.

Jack (Chicago)

How good are these international players Valanciunas, Vesley and Montiejunas etc? Who is the best out of the bunch and will any of them be drafted in the top 5?

Chad Ford
  (2:00 PM)

Valanciunas has the most upside. Big time talent and he plays more like an American than a European. But he needs to add a ton of strength. Still he's probably a Top 7 pick. Vesely is a terrific athlete, but a bit raw offensively. Montiejunas is a big time scorer, but doesn't play any D. All three are not your typical Euro type players. All 3 could go top 10.

Kantad (NYC)

What are your thoughts on Chris Singleton?

Chad Ford
  (2:00 PM)

Will be a terrific defender in the pros. If he can continue to improve as a shooter, he'll be a very solid pro. Late lottery to mid first rounder.

Alex (Kansas City, MO)

Josh Selby. Pretty good, right?

Chad Ford
  (2:02 PM)

Really good. His improved shooting has really caught scouts eyes. Not sure they'll know for sure whether he's a Point Guard or not given how Kansas is using him ... not sure it matters. At the very minimum, he could be an Eric Gordon type pro.

Chad Ford
  (2:02 PM)

Gotta run everyone. Have a great New Year. Talk to you again in 2011.