Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

February 16, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Chad Ford

Chad Ford
  (1:02 PM)

Aloha everyone. Thanks for coming to the chat today. With the trade deadline just over a week away, it's eerily quiet out there right now. We still expect stuff to happen, but ... with all the uncertainty around a coming lockout, maybe this is the year teams stand pat. Let's roll ...

Jason (Birmingham, Al)

Are there any trade domino's ready to fall or is Carmelo holding the Nuggets and the trade deadline hostage?

Chad Ford
  (1:05 PM)

It's not just Carmelo ... though that's part of it. The Nuggets have been indecisive too ... but I'm not sure it's costs them. I still maintain that Melo's first goal is to get an extension. Denver now seems to be weighing the risk/reward of keeping Melo and hoping he signs an extension versus trading him for 10 cents on the dollar. But with so many teams involved in the talks ... it's chilled the market. So has the impending lockout -- with owners taking a wait-and-see attitude on adding big contracts. So has the conference races. With the exception of a few top teams like Dallas ... most teams at the top are pretty set with their rosters.

MB4th (NJ)

Favors alone beats any knicks deal, melo wants his money before the new CBA, what is stopping this from happening next week?

Chad Ford
  (1:06 PM)

It still might. NJ has been very consistent that they are out of the Melo sweepstakes. But if Denver and Melo call ... they'll pick up the phone. Denver won't get as sweet of a deal as they were getting in January ... but it will still trump what everyone else is offering. If Melo really wants an extension and if he really wants to bolt Denver ... this is, by far, the easiest option to make it happen.

KJ (North Carolina)

You are Denver. Would you want to extend and keep Melo at this point if he would do it?

Chad Ford
  (1:08 PM)

Yes. They aren't getting enough talent in return. If he would sign an extension, I'd do it and let him wipe his teary eyes with all of those Benjamins.

Jerry (Texas)

Why dont the Knicks just give the Nuggets what they want, they are giving up three starters, but they are getting two starters back, one of which is a top 10 player?

Chad Ford
  (1:10 PM)

Because Donnie Walsh doesn't want to screw up the long term prospects of the team. Adding Melo isn't enough to put the Knicks on top of the East. They'll have to make other moves too. If they get too hemmed in (either because of high salaries or because they have no assets to trade) he can't build a contender. I know Knicks fans and James Dolan are hungry for Melo ... but Walsh is right to be cautious. If Melo was the last piece of the puzzle, sure, you go all in. But he's not and Walsh know it.

Stephen (North Carolina)

Are the Bulls going to look to fill that SG spot before the deadline, or will they wait until the season is over?

Chad Ford
  (1:11 PM)

They're looking. It's not easy to find someone who will make a big impact. The Bulls don't have a ton of assets right now. Taj Gibson is the guy most teams are interested in, but they really need him too. That's the biggest problem. Tough to get a real impact player when you don't have much to offer.

rich (san francisco)

What moves do you see Dallas making (if any) in the next week?

Chad Ford
  (1:14 PM)

They're having a good season, but with Butler out for the year, they know they probably need one more piece to go all the way. So you'll likely see them try to turn Butler's expiring contract into something. The problem for Dallas is they don't have a lot of assets either. They have expiring deals, but so do a lot of teams. They don't really have young players that excite teams (Beaubois may be the exception, but they've been reluctant to trade him and an injury has lowered his trade value). So in an ideal world, they trade. But they don't have a lot of leverage right now.

Chat (Los Angeles)

You think the Lakers will make a trade before the deadline, perhaps on a smaller scale. I think we're stuck with Ron "I jump a 3 inches off the ground." Artest....

Chad Ford
  (1:17 PM)

They're looking too. But like Dallas and Chicago -- what do they really have to offer. Kobe and Pau aren't going anywhere. Neither is Odom. Andrew Bynum is the obvious answer, but it sounds like Jim Buss' mancrush on Bynum will prevent the Lakers from moving him. If they Lakers aren't willing to move those guys -- you have to start thinking about the Shannon Brown's and Derrick Caracter's as their assets. There will be some interest, but those guys are unlikely to net the Lakers another difference maker.

Frank (Maryland)

Any chance the Magic can get Troy Murphy if he's bought out?

Chad Ford
  (1:18 PM)

Yes, and it would be a pretty good fit for Orlando. The Nets have been trying very hard to move him to another team, but so far there's not been a ton of interest - in part because most team believe the Nets will just waive him after the deadline anyway. If that happens, Orlando will be a strong possibility.

Dan (OC)

Please tell me the Jazz turn AK's expiring into SOMETHING (preferably a 2 or 3 that can make an open jumpshot)

Chad Ford
  (1:21 PM)

They may have no choice. The Jazz have to show Deron Williams they can be a championship contender or they're in the same boat that Denver was this year and Toronto and Cleveland were last season. No one wants that. Of course, history shows that trying to build a contender at the trade deadline usually backfires. Kirilenko is their best trade chip ... but he also contributes to the team in ways that don't always show in the box score. GM Kevin O'Connor has been reluctant to part with him in the past. However, his hand may be forced a bit by the recent turmoil.

Travis (DC)

Do you think Paul George can become the star the Pacers needed, thus putting Granger into the #2 role he would excel at?

Chad Ford
  (1:25 PM)

He's got the talent. The Pacers gambled a bit when they took him at 10 ... but I said it then and still believe, I think he was worth the gamble. If you've watched him play recently, you see the potential. So do the Pacers. He's still a couple of years away from being a No. 1 guy ... but he has that potential on both ends of the floor. I think that relieves the Pacers from having to hit a home run in free agency. If they can add a long, athletic four to the mix and some veterans, they'll be really good for a long time.

Joey (PDX)

Any trade chatter coming from Portland? Rich Cho said the other day that the Melo talk is holding things up for other deals, any truth to this?

Chad Ford
  (1:27 PM)

Blazers have a ton of assets -- Andre Miller, Marcus Camby, Joel Przybilla, Greg Oden -- to use in trades. But Cho is more cautious and he still has to get Paul Allen on board with pulling the plug on this version of the Blazers and rebuilding around LaMarcus Aldridge and Nic Batum. But I do expect the Blazers to be one of the busiest teams at the trade deadline.

Chris (San Diego)

Any trade chatter coming from Houston? Seems like they have a very crowded but talented backcourt.

Chad Ford
  (1:29 PM)

I talked about this last week, but they're being very aggressive. No one is untouchable on that team. They have an interesting mix of expiring contracts, young players and draft picks. I expect them to make a deal ... though who knows what it will be. With everyone on the block, there are a number of ways it could go.

Jared (NY)

Hey, love your chats, always look forward to them!! IF the new CBA does involve some kind of "franchise player" tag, could you see the NBA in a couple years becoming like the NFL, where instead of 3-5 teams having a chance to win it all, there could be 10-13 teams with a chance? Thanks.

Chad Ford
  (1:31 PM)

That's a possibility. The "franchise player" tag that I wrote about last month is on the table, but I've had a couple of NBA owners tell me it isn't their top priority right now. They are looking for a massive restructuring of the whole deal and understand that they won't get everything. But if the league did get it, I do think it would restore some parity to the NBA. The recent trends toward star players colluding to play in big markets doesn't bode well for a lot of the smaller franchises out there.

ben (washington)

If there's one guy who screams "sell high" right now it's gotta be Nick Young, right? Why isn't he being talked about for the Bulls' answer at the 2?

Chad Ford
  (1:33 PM)

I agree with you that the Wizards should seriously consider moving him while he's playing out of his mind like that -- he's going to come back down to Earth. But again what do the Bulls have that the Wizards would really want?

Herman (Toronto)

With Ed Davis and Amir Johnson showing signs of potential. Does there come a time when Toronto looks to trade Bargnani? Maybe they should take a shot at Odem?

Chad Ford
  (1:36 PM)

It's a good question. The answer is ... not as long as Bryan Colangelo is the GM. GMs fall in love with the players they draft. It's part of our psychological need to justify our decisions. Colangelo took him No. 1 over Rudy Gay and Brandon Roy. He needs to be right. Trading him is tantamount to admitting he was a bad pick. Lakers are suffering from the same problem with Bynum. As a rule around the league, teams tend to overvalue their own players and undervalue other team's players. It's partly why we don't see more trades in the NBA. But if Colangelo were to leave the Raptors, my guess is the first move a new GM would make would be to trade Bargnani. He's talented, but it's tough to have a 7 footer on the floor who refuses to rebound or defend anyone.

Joey (PDX)

Based on the season so far who do you have in the finals?

Chad Ford
  (1:38 PM)

Celtics-Lakers rematch ... with Celtics coming on top. I picked the Heat pre-season and still believe they could win it all, but they have to show me they can beat the Celtics first.

Rod Thorn (Philadlephia, PA)

Am I in a coma or just hamstrung by an ownership more afraid of the luxury tax than anything else?

Chad Ford
  (1:40 PM)

Luxury tax is a big part of it. So is the fact that the Sixers are playing so much better right now. Coaches tend to dislike mid-season changes because it takes a while for new players to learn a system. My guess is Doug Collins is telling them to wait until the summer unless a no brainer of a deal comes along.

Corey (In Class @Akron)

Who's the better fit for CLE , Perry Jones or Harrison Barnes? We need a Leader and someone willing to handle the load of a franchise, so which one?

Chad Ford
  (1:42 PM)

Neither right now. Both are crazy talented, and neither has shown the leadership abilities to take over a team. So while the Cavs clearly need help at the three (and the five, two and one) ... I'm not sure either guy is able to carry the load of a franchise for a while.

Miguel (FL)

Please tell me John Henson is staying at UNC, we don't need Brandan Wright part 2 again.

Chad Ford
  (1:44 PM)

He might stay. But I don't think he's Brandon Wright for two reasons -- One, he has a lot better motor than Wright did. Two, he's a better defender. Offensively, there are issues for Henson. I'm not sure exactly how he scores in the NBA. But I do see his potential on the other end ... and the offense can come along and so can his body. I think he's a Top 10 pick.

Mike (St. Paul, MN)

Do you think Tyler Zeller will be a better pro than Hanbrough?

Chad Ford
  (1:45 PM)

Not sure about that. Did you see Hansbrough last night versus the Heat. He's not the most skilled guy, but that toughness he brings with him on the floor makes him a difference maker. Zeller is more skilled and has big size advantage, but he doesn't have Hansbrough's toughness.

Me (NJ)

Terrence Jones reminds me of a Josh Smith, is it fair to say he might have a touch of Cousins in him based solely on his body language?

Chad Ford
  (1:47 PM)

Jones has crazy talent and, you're right, his body language isn't always great. I don't think he's Cousins however. I'm not sure who is. Can you name the last Top 5 pick that's had as many "incidents" with his team? Even Sheed and Iverson didn't really pull this as rookies.

Louis (South Africa (via Iowa))

Are Harrison Barnes' struggles a legitimate sign that he isn't ready for the NBA, or does he just have a game that would translate better to the pros than college? We saw something similar with Rajon Rondo and some others, where they aren't breakout stars in college but their game is well suited to the professional style.

Chad Ford
  (1:49 PM)

I think Barnes is a better player than he's shown at UNC, but there are concerns. Some of it may be the system he's playing in and the teammates around him (we saw how much Kendall Marshall has helped) but I don't think he's in strong consideration for the No. 1 pick anymore. Too many ?s

Jon (Des Moines)

Personally, I hope Harrison Barnes declares, and Minnesota drafts him. They need a shoot first SF-SG type player and it can't get any worse than what it's been.

Chad Ford
  (1:49 PM)

Wow. This is what it's come to Wolves fans.

Jason Sleik-Gay (Stevens Point, WI)

Does this draft look to be one of the weakest in awhile?

Chad Ford
  (1:51 PM)

Yes and no. Not a lot of elite talent at the top. Weak at SG, C and PG. But it's a pretty strong draft if you're looking for PFs or if you are looking for draft prospects who have produced in college. I just wrote a blog on this on Tuesday. Take a look.

Matt (my pod)

Why no love for Providence Brooks in your draft rankings?

Chad Ford
  (1:52 PM)

He's there ... a bubble first rounder.

Michael (CT)

Does Kemba Walker become more of a true point guard in the NBA? Or does he stay this combo guard? And which is better for his draft status?

Chad Ford
  (1:54 PM)

He'd be better off as a pure point guard, but I don't think he really sees the floor as well as most pure point guards nor is he a special passer. He's better than what he's shown at UConn (he doesn't have a lot of options to pass to) but he's more of hybrid guard ala Aaron Brooks.

Otto (CA)

What do you think of Jon Leuer of Wisconsin? Does have an NBA game and body? Thanks.

Chad Ford
  (1:55 PM)

He shoots the ball really well and there's always a place in the NBA for big men who can do that. I think he's a bubble first rounder.

daniel (sc)

how is Nolan Smith's draft stock?

Chad Ford
  (1:56 PM)

Late first round pick. An undersized shooting guard.

kshiz ((chicago))

If Kyrie Irving does come out this season - how high is his ceiling? His game reminds me an awful lot of Chris Paul ...

Chad Ford
  (1:57 PM)

Not as quick or explosive as Paul. In a good draft, he's a mid lottery pick. But in this draft, he could be No. 1 overall -- if he comes out. Lots of talk he's staying at Duke for another season.

Kentucky (USA)

Is Kenneth Faried the best glue guy in this draft?

Chad Ford
  (1:58 PM)

Could be. One of my favorite sleepers in the draft. Crazy motor and shot blocking ability. If he was a little taller and a little stronger he'd be a Top 5 pick. As it stands now ... late lottery to mid first round.

Chad Ford
  (1:59 PM)

Gotta run everyone. Have a great time watching the All-Star game. Next week, this time, we should be flooded in trade rumors. Have a great week.