In case you didn’t notice, and judging by the ratings you didn’t, the NBA draft lottery was met with some controversy on Tuesday night after the Cleveland Cavaliers miraculously ended up with the No. 1- and No. 4-overall picks in this year’s draft.
Some have chirped that the lottery is fixed, but most of those people are just general fans and/or bloggers. It’s actually a big deal when a team executive insinuates that it’s fixed and then gives details as to why.
“This league has a habit, and I am just going to say habit, of producing some pretty incredible story lines,” Minnesota Timberwolves team president David Kahn said. “Last year it was Abe Pollin’s widow and this year it was a 14-year-old boy and the only thing we have in common is we have both been bar mitzvahed. We were done. I told Kevin (O’Connor, GM of the Jazz, who got the No. 3 pick): ‘We’re toast.’ This is not happening for us and I was right.”
Kahn was referring to Dan Gilbert’s 14-year old son, Nick, who suffers from a disease that causes tumors to spread throughout his body.
Photo Caption: “Hahaaaa! Did I tell you the one about the 11-year old homeless girl with Parkinson’s?!”
On Wednesday, Kahn tried to say that the comments were made in jest.
“The first questions I was asked last night by the reporters were, did I feel that the Timberwolves were jinxed,” Kahn said. “You know, we have a poor lottery record. And I want to say for the record, I don’t believe in jinxes, curses, hocus pocus, and I don’t believe we’ve been harmed in any way. What I said last night, I do believe in the power of story. And I just felt it was a heck of a lot better story for a 14-year-old to beat out two middle-aged executives standing together on a stage on national TV, and that our league has had its own share of luck in being a part of those stories. That’s it. Anybody ascribing anything else to it is completely doing their own thing.”
Kahn pointed out that when he made the comment, laughter ensued.
“There was no follow-up question,” Kahn continued. “Nobody said, ‘Do you understand what you just said?’ No, because everybody knew context. But I do understand, to your point, just reading it dry, that somebody could infer that. So lesson learned.”
Well, regardless, Ken Berger of CBSSports.com is reporting that NBA officials are deciding whether or not to discipline Kahn for his original comments. As much as leagues hate steroids and concussions and criminal conduct, they loathe the idea that the competition in their sport could in any way be compromised.
So, expect some sort of discipline, but not the kind where they take the first two games for the Wolves and count them as losses. That’s like trying to take playing time away from Marreese Speights.