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Wolves GM David Kahn hints at lottery fix. Fine on way.

May 18, 2011, 2:46 AM EDT

Timberwolves Kahn Basketball AP

What can get you in more trouble with David Stern than saying his referees are biased?

Saying the NBA Draft Lottery is fixed.

Which is pretty much what Minnesota Timberwolves GM David Kahn did after the lottery (where his team with the worst record fell to the No. 2 spot). Cleveland won the top spot.  Cavs owner Dan Gilbert had sent as a team representative his 14-year-old son Nick, who is battling Neurofibromatosis, a disease that causes the body’s nerves to grow potentially cancerous tumors.

“This league has a habit, and I am just going to say habit, of producing some pretty incredible story lines,” 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: ‘We’re toast.’ This is not happening for us and I was right.”

Kahn might as well get the checkbook out now. And for the record, saying widows and sick children who had to undergo chemotherapy get all the luck is just pretty stupid.

For the record, the league has gone to great lengths over the years to make this process as transparent as possible. Every team — including the Timberwolves — has a representative in the room watching the Keno machine (or whatever they wish to call it) pull out ping-pong balls. There are 14 balls, leading to 1,001 number combinations and those are assigned to teams based on percentages (Kahn and Minnesota had a 25 percent chance of winning, so they had 250 number combinations).

All of that to fight the perception that the draft lottery is fixed.

But the stigma of lottery fixes — going back to Patrick Ewing and the “frozen envelope theory” — remains with a lot of fans and will not shake easily. Kahn just reinforced it. And somebody is going to pay for that.

  1. trbowman - May 18, 2011 at 3:49 AM

    Or the Bulls nabbing the first pick to get the hometown boy Derrick Rose…..

    It might not be fixed every year, but it has been in years past.

  2. rickmirer - May 18, 2011 at 4:56 AM

    Lofty words, makes you wonder sometimes. The green lantern movie looks awful.

  3. gunner1970 - May 18, 2011 at 6:17 AM

    Why a Lottery to begin with? If you suck during the regular season you get first pick…end of story.

    • 1historian - May 18, 2011 at 6:59 AM

      That makes sense but they invented the lottery because once upon a time teams were tanking toward the end of the season to get a better pick in the draft.
      Of course it could be argued that they still are.

  4. daspurtitan - May 18, 2011 at 6:27 AM

    Minnesota should be happy that they didnt get the number 1 pick. It prevents them from drafting another top point guard.

  5. pl4tinum514 - May 18, 2011 at 6:43 AM

    Maybe the t wolves would have had better karma if they hadn’t tanked the last fifteen games of the season on purpose.. you get what you deserve.

  6. volsforever - May 18, 2011 at 6:55 AM

    The team with the worst record should get the first pick. That is the way other professional sports do it. This is just another reason why I am not that much of a NBA fan.

  7. memphismiracle - May 18, 2011 at 7:11 AM

    Any chance he was just trying to be funny? Like, “There is no way we can beat a kid with a crazy disease, we might as well pack it in now.”

  8. savocabol1 - May 18, 2011 at 7:56 AM

    Why does this guy still have a job? The T-Wolves have been a joke (for the most part) ever since Garnett left.

    And way to stay classy bringing a 14-year old kid with Neurofibromatosis into your rant.

    • savocabol1 - May 18, 2011 at 7:58 AM

      Before I get murdered on this post, I realize he has only been there since 2009. Still, the guy has only made that team worse.

      • cosanostra71 - May 18, 2011 at 12:19 PM

        No reason to get murdered for that. He really has made them worse.

        C: Al Jefferson/Jason Collins
        PF: Kevin Love/Shelden Williams/Brian Cardinal
        SF: Ryan Gomes/Craig Smith/Rodney Carney
        SG: Mike Miller/Corey Brewer
        PG: Randy Foye/Sebastian Telfair/Kevin Ollie

        C: Darko/?
        PF: Kevin Love/Anthony Randolph/Anthony Tolliver
        SF: Michael Beasley/Martell Webster/Lazar Hayward
        SG: Wesley Johnson/Wayne Ellington
        PG: Jonny Flynn/Luke Ridnour/Sebastian Telfair

        Their team now is made up of players who were considered high potential coming out of college and yet haven’t done squat. The team has no direction. Jonny Flynn as the point guard in a triangle system?

      • savocabol1 - May 18, 2011 at 1:58 PM

        Wow it was worse than I thought. I don’t have much room to speak because the Cavs only really have Hickson and Andy V to build around but still, wow. No wonder this GM is pissed.

  9. sguy2130 - May 18, 2011 at 8:45 AM

    It’s not fixed, if you look at is closely, Cavs actually got screwed on their initial pick, which would have been #2 without a lottery, instead it dropped to #4.

    Cavs got the #1 pick with the pick they acquired form the Clippers, which was insanely lucky in that respect (only 2.8% chance to get #1 pick i think).

    If they really wanted to fix it the Twolves would be picking #4 and the Cavs #1 and #2.

    If you look at the odds, there was a 75% chance that the Twolvles wouldn’t get the first pick.

    I’m thrilled at the luck the Cavs got this year as a Cavs fan, but it doesn’t mean that the lottery system isn’t a terrible idea. I’d prefer a non lottery system, or at least less teams involved in the lottery, no way the #14 team should have any chance what so ever in obtaining the first pick…what a joke. Make it the bottom 6 teams at least….

    If the Cavs didn’t make that trade w/ the Clippers we’d be whining right now because we dropped to #4, thank goodness we did…

  10. florida727 - May 18, 2011 at 8:49 AM

    “Wolves GM David Kahn hints at lottery fix.”
    David, let me help you make it a little more definitive…
    Sorry, but there are too many examples of certain teams getting the first pick and selecting a player whose marketing appeal, along with their talent obviously, make them a perfect fit for a given city (think LeBron in Cleveland, Rose in Chicago, etc.). Anyone that doesn’t believe the NBA orchestrates this charade is delusional. Why do you think they do it behind closed doors and only bring out the envelopes already in their final sequence?

  11. florida727 - May 18, 2011 at 9:08 AM

    “Every team — including the Timberwolves — has a representative in the room watching the Keno machine (or whatever they wish to call it) pull out ping-pong balls.”


    Then why is there always such a reaction when the envelopes are open? If the reps are in the room, wouldn’t they know before the TV lights go on who’s going to be placed where? Ewing to the Knicks, LeBron to the Cavs, Rose to the Bulls. Coincidence? Sure…

    • philtration - May 18, 2011 at 1:41 PM

      Then how do you explain teams like Portland, Milwaukee, Washington, Toronto and Orlando getting the 1st overall pick?
      Toronto? Really?
      Washington has had the top pick twice since 2001.
      If it were all about big markets then these teams would not be in the running for the fix and neither would Cleveland.
      I believe that a lot of people are under the impression that Cleveland is a much bigger town than it really is.

      You can’t just point a finger at the few times that New York, Chicago and Los Angeles have gotten the first pick as proof of some stupid conspiracy.
      They call it a lottery for a reason you know.

  12. jonirocit - May 18, 2011 at 9:34 AM

    Guys we all know the NBA and the dick tater stern are in on a good fix from time to time . Hell they even have rogue referees in their pocket . Look what they did to the Sacramento kings in the western conference finals vs lakers a few years back when the ref was on the take. It has been too obvious. They dick Tate … The out come of games daily by the way refs call the games and if anyone needs proof just think of what would be best for the league and watch how close it comes to actually happening. The Feds shouldn’t have wasted all that money on steroids in the MLB and should have went after the NBA I’m pretty sure david stern wouldn’t have been able to fine them. Ohh well I better get ready cuz I’ll probably be getting a call from the commish too and I will be light in the pocket book for my comments too . The league is full full of punks and thugs and have become nothing short of a organized crime syndicate yet they still get away with it . Fines might be the least of our worries I’m pretty sure someone will end up sleeping with the fishes over their comments one day thanks to the godfather stern.

  13. geniusesq - May 18, 2011 at 9:52 AM

    It is fixed. That’s why the NBA product sucks in comparison to the NFL. Worst to first. Period. Cleveland got hometown hero, Lebron. Chicago got hometown hero Rose. Cleveland gets rewarded for “The Decision” with the first pick. What are the “odds.” duh

  14. miami4allday - May 18, 2011 at 10:08 AM

    The NBA is Fixed lol not just the draft.

  15. tominma - May 18, 2011 at 10:12 AM

    I know why the NBA instituted the lottery. Too many teams were tanking it at then end of the season to try to get the first pick! ( see Rick Pitino/Celtics) But then, there’s no lottery in the NFL or the NHL. So I think that they should can the lottery and return to doing the draft by record! Then they can keep a CLOSE eye at what teams are doing at the end of the year! But one last thing, neither the NBA or the college game is anywhere near as good as it was! When these one and done players make it big in the NBA during their first year, you KNOW the quality of basketball isnt all that good! The college game sucks too–it’s like they dont know how to play the game! But Im an old guy who doesnt know very much– who played organized basketball until i was 40! 😛

  16. smitheye - May 18, 2011 at 10:20 AM

    If you honestly think the lottery is not fixed than you are nothing but an utter moron. Fact

  17. ohkhan - May 18, 2011 at 10:34 AM

    the man should be more concerned about why hes constantly in the lottery. What does it matter anyway? If he had the picks that the cavs had he would just draft 2 players at the same position and render one of them useless. He’s honestly a joke. He is like the matt millen of basketball.

  18. jmessinger - May 18, 2011 at 10:37 AM

    Pretty sure he was amicably joking, like “Oh man, we’re up against a kid? We have no chance.” Power down the outrage machine.

    But if it was fixed, it was clearly to save Kahn from himself and make it so he couldn’t draft another point guard.

  19. jstrizzle - May 18, 2011 at 10:59 AM

    So if he does get fined does it just prove that it is fixed?

  20. stinkfingers - May 18, 2011 at 11:15 AM

    Why does Kahn care if he gets the #1 pick? He would just piss it away anyhow. His track record proves it.

  21. dfeltz - May 18, 2011 at 12:15 PM

    Yeah, widows and sick kids get all the luck

  22. CJ - May 18, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    Kahn should be glad he didn’t get the first pick. Now he won’t be tempted to take YET ANOTHER PG.

  23. bigtrav425 - May 18, 2011 at 12:34 PM

    Kudo’s for Kahn saying this!..he is only saying what most of us already think…the lottery is fixed..we all know it!….i mean come on how the hell can you NOT think that!…it should be plain and simple,but nothing ever can be with that Nazi Stern….the team with the worst record gets the first pick.which is how it should be and this coming from a Cavs fan…Bottom line thats how it should be its like that in everything else in the world BUT the NBA…Gimmie a break! You cant tell me that the ratings for the Lottery pickings is that high that the NBA needs/wants to keep it…..i call BS!

  24. mrstorm6 - May 18, 2011 at 1:26 PM

    The fix was in years ago when Kevin McHale failed to build around Garnett!

  25. kentuckyhouse2323 - May 18, 2011 at 1:48 PM

    I’ve still yet to understand how a commissioner of ANY sporting league is allowed to fine people for what they say. I’m sure every person that’s a member of that league signs some sort of agreement, but really…couldn’t they easily go to court, citing the First Amendment, and win going away??? This is one of those things that makes me despise pro sports. If Stern or Goodell don’t like what you say…here’s a 25 or 50k fine. That’s just not right.

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