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

Chad Ford
  (1:02 PM)

Aloha everyone. Thanks for coming to the chat today. We'll hit the NBA in the first half hour and NBA Draft in the second half. Let's roll ...

Ryan (Oklahoma City)

Whats your take ROY so far?

Chad Ford
  (1:04 PM)

Lillard is the odds on favorite right now. He's been phenomenal and had a huge impact on his team's W-L record. Anthony Davis is back, healthy and still very much in the picture. With a healthy Davis and Eric Gordon, the Hornets are starting to win again. And don't discount Andre Drummond. As Tom Habersroh pointed out today, using advanced statistics, he's been the best rookie in the league this year.

Sean (Sacramento)

What's your take on the Kings situation?

Chad Ford
  (1:06 PM)

Feel really bad for Kings fans. Excited for Sonics fans. I know there's a lot of talk of a local buyer swooping down at the last second and saving the Kings ... but I'd be shocked if they aren't playing in Seattle next season.

Alex (Phoenix, AZ)

Hi Chad,do you think Gortat will still be in Phoenix after the trading deadline?

Chad Ford
  (1:09 PM)

They want to make a move. He's probably their best asset. But he's also a critical part of their team. If they want to make a big splash he probably has to be in the deal, but I think the Suns are more intent on trying to find a way to relevant right now. If that's the case, they're more likely to use their draft picks than the a productive center that's very hard to replace. So my gut says he's probably still wearing a Suns uniform in March.

Robbie (Memphis)

Chad, what do you think Memphis will do with Rudy Gay? Keeping his contract after this season is impossible to do! Assuming they resign Tony Allen and guys like Wayne Ellington, keeping Gay will cost the Grizzlies a fortune. What do you think will happen?

Chad Ford
  (1:12 PM)

Based on Lionel Hollins' recent comments disparaging advanced statistics and arguing that the Grizzlies need to keep Gay - he must feel like the Grizzlies are going to move him. Seemed like a direct shot across the bow of new Grizzlies exec John Hollinger. If there really is a mandate from ownership to stop the financial bleeding, Gay is the best asset they have move ... and there is a lot of interest. I think he's gone.

Jake (Salt Lake)

Which teams do you think will be trading away their lottery picks this summer? In other words, whose picks are available?

Chad Ford
  (1:15 PM)

Lots of them. It's a weak draft for one. Lots of teams wouldn't mind moving their picks this year. Second, you have a number of struggling teams that don't want to go the "blow it up" route of re-building a team -- Phoenix, Dallas, Washington, Orlando -- which means they might be willing to move picks to get better right away. The question really is -- are their any buyers for picks in this year's draft. It's not a sellers market.

Alex (Atlanta)

Looks like Josh Smith is trying to force a trade to Boston as expected this past offseason. What is Ainge willing to give up?

Chad Ford
  (1:17 PM)

The relationship between the Hawks and Josh Smith has always been a rocky one on both sides of the ledger. I think Danny Ferry has wanted to keep him around in hopes that he could lure Dwight Howard back to Atlanta this summer. But if Smith wants out (which it appears that he does) that plan isn't really going to work. From what I can gather, he's definitely available.

@bostonsportz (boston)

Are you hearing any moves the Celtics might make?

Chad Ford
  (1:21 PM)

Danny Ainge did his annual radio interview where he appears flabbergasted at all the trade talk and says it's unlikely they'll do a deal. Of course, we know from past years, that Ainge isn't exactly forthcoming in such interviews. Multiple teams tell me they've talked to the Celtics and they believe everything is on the table -- as it should be. If Ainge can make the team stronger for a run at the Finals he will. If he can't, but he can just start the rebuilding process in a big way -- why wouldn't he. The team he has now probably isn't a serious Finals contender. I think it's likely it moves one way or the other. So when I wrote a few weeks back that he could or could not move Rondo, I wasn't trying to have it both ways. I meant that both options are on the table and he's looking for the best deal for his team. If there's a great Rondo trade for the Celtics, he'll do it. If there isn't, he's not in firesale mode, he's not moving players like Rondo or Paul Pierce for the sake of shaking up the team.

Kyle (DMC)

Chad-- are the Kings really interested in shopping Demarcus Cousins? I think for Cousins a change of scenery would be great

Chad Ford
  (1:22 PM)

There is a lot of interest around the league, but from what I can gather, no GMs have had any success in making progress with the Kings on trade talks so far. The Kings appear to want to hold onto him. Lots can change in the next five weeks, but right now that where they stand.

Phillip (Amarillo)

The Bank of Cuban is open! I'm not sure what that means exactly, but I'm excited!

Chad Ford
  (1:24 PM)

Me too. Clearly Dirk Nowitzki is distraught about the direction of the franchise. Cuban doesn't want a long, painful rebuilding process either. They're going to be very aggressive and given their lack of attractive trade assets, they're using the one thing they do have a lot of -- money. Cuban's willingness to take on long-term salary is a powerful chip in the game. Lots of teams looking to save money and Cuban will, in the right deal, take those contracts off their hands.

James (Dallas)

Shouldn't Greg Oden's first choice be the Phoenix Suns? I think its his best chance at a long career. Then they can use the picks/Gortat/cap space to get another elite player.

Chad Ford
  (1:27 PM)

Just about every player in the league that's played for them swears by their training staff. I think it's a good call. Oden needs all the help he can get. But I doubt any team in the league would start dramatically altering their team just because Oden arrived. It's going to be a few years of playing healthy basketball before teams will get comfortable that he's part of the long term plan.

Bill (NH)

What are the chances big name free agents such as D12, CP3, or Bynum don't resign with there current teams?

Chad Ford
  (1:31 PM)

I think all three are up in the air. Seems like CP3 has the best chance of re-signing with the Clippers. They are built to win now and I'm not sure he's going to find a better situation somehwere else. D12 appears unhappy. Nothing is going right with the Lakers right now. But I'm still not sure there's a better team out there for him in the long run. Brooklyn I guess but getting there won't be easy. As for Bynum, really depends on what the doctors are saying.

Gabe (Denver)

Doesn't a Dirk-Howard swap make a lot of sense for both teams?

Chad Ford
  (1:33 PM)

In the short term it's probably a yes for the Lakers. He's a better fit with the current squad and a perfect fit for the way D'Antoni likes to play. Long-term, it's a no. Dirk is on the downside of his career. For the Mavs, it's a big yes if they were sure Howard would re-sign.

mike (chicago)

Who has the higher upside, Ben Mclemore or Shabazz Muhammad?

Chad Ford
  (1:36 PM)

Both have terrific upsides. Different players. McLemore is smoother, Muhammad has more of a power game. McLemore is a better shooter, Muhammad might be a little more NBA ready. Muhammad probably has a better motor right now. McLemore keeps getting better and better. Muhammad is still not 100 percent, but keeps getting better too. Both seem like great picks, though I'm personally fonder of McLemore. Both still have a legit shot at the No. 1 pick depending on what team gets the pick.

Rah-Steam (Hackensack, N.J.)

Which college pg's do you like for the draft? Smart, Burke, and Williams look like the top 3 in my opinion!

Chad Ford
  (1:38 PM)

I'd say those are the top 3. B.J. Young is in there. C.J. McCollum too if you consider him a point guard. Right now it's a toss-up between Marcus Smart and Michael Carter-Williams for the first PG off the board. Two very different types of players. Both with great strengths and both still have some pretty big holes in their games. Personally, I'm a Marcus Smart fan. I think he has the most NBA potential of any of the PGs in the draft.

Sean (San Jose)

What do you think of Doug McDermott as a NBA prospect?

Chad Ford
  (1:41 PM)

He's a Top 5 college player. He's remarkable efficient. I struggle with him as a NBA player just because I have a hard time finding a legitimate comp for him in the league. He's a tweener, lacks elite athleticism, not sure who he guards. Reminds me a lot of Luke Babbitt and players like this just seem to struggle.

Matt (DC)

Is Alex Len's stock taking a dip with the Terps struggles? Watching them as a team, they have no idea how to get him the ball.

Chad Ford
  (1:41 PM)

No, and for the reason you suggested. He's playing well, but centers need guards to get them the ball. When he touches the ball, he does good things. But agree with you that Maryland struggled to keep him involved.

Rick (Phoenix)

I saw that you still have Nerlens Noel atop your Big Board thing you debuted today. Didn't Jay Bilas say he's the most overrated player in college basketball ... yet he's No. 1 on your Big Board. Please explain.

Chad Ford
  (1:47 PM)

I think if you read Jay carefully, he wasn't speaking of Noel's long-term potential ... just where he's currently at. I disagree a bit just because I think everyone knew coming in that Noel was a work in progress. No one expected him to be averaging 15 or 20 ppg as a freshman. If you look at his numbers and if you watch him play, the potential is clearly there for him to be a defensive stopper at the next level. If this was a stronger draft then, of course, he wouldn't be No. 1 on the board. But in a draft this weak, he and Alex Len look like the only two viable candidates for the No. 1 pick if a team is looking for a big man. If they're looking for a wing? Ben McLemore and Shabazz Muhammad appear to be the guys. I doubt we'll have a consensus No. 1 pick this year. But Noel I think is actually underrated. If Anthony Davis hadn't set the bar so high last year, I think people would be pretty happy with him.

Kyle (NBA Draft)

Can you mention some of your top prospects for 2014 Draft outside of Wiggins.

Chad Ford
  (1:54 PM)

Sure. Andrew and Aaron Harrison at Kentucky. Jabari Parker at Duke. James Young at Kentucky. Noah Vonieh at Indiana. Aaron Gordona and Julius Randle who are still undecided. Wiggins, Andrew Harrison, Parker, Randle and Young all look like potential one-and-done lottery picks next year.

Greg (Toronto)

Anthony Bennett not in the discussion for #1?

Chad Ford
  (1:55 PM)

I havent' encountered a team that has him No. 1 on their internal Big Board. Many have him in the Top 5. If he was a bit taller, I think he could be running away with the No. 1 pick, but I think it's hard for NBA teams to place a 6-7 power forward as the No. 1 pick.

Andre (Tallahassee, FL)

Could Mason Plumlee start right away in the NBA or would he be best served learning behind a vet for a season or two?

Chad Ford
  (1:57 PM)

Most teams see him as a back-up right now. That's why he's a little lower on our Big Board than his production this year suggests.

Andre (Tallahassee, FL)

How much will CJ McCollum's injury hurt his draft stock? Could a half decent combine showing bring back up to where it once peaked?

Chad Ford
  (1:57 PM)

I don't think it will be a big deal as long as he can do workouts and he checks out OK in his physical. He has a pretty big body of work to examine and his injury shouldn't have a long-term impact on his game.

Bill (NH)

How's Isaiah Austin's draft stock? He looks way too thin to hold his own in the NBA anytime soon.

Chad Ford
  (2:00 PM)

He's having a very good freshman year. But the reason he's not in the Top 10 is his body. It's kind of the John Henson dilemma. He can clearly play, but physically he's at a disadvantage at the next level.

Chad Ford
  (2:00 PM)

Gotta run everyone. Thanks for coming to the chat. We'll do it again next week.