Timberwolves president says he really doesn't think NBA lottery is rigged
Basically, Kahn suggested, it's fate that is against the Timberwolves, not the NBA.
After his last-place team received the No. 2 overall pick in Tuesday night's draft lottery, Kahn told the media: "This league has a habit, and I am just going to say habit, of producing some pretty incredible story lines. Last year it was Abe Pollin's widow and this year it was a 14-year-old boy ... . We were done. I told [Utah Jazz General Manager Kevin O'Connor], 'We're toast.' This is not happening for us,' and I was right about that."
A day later Kahn tried to explain his comments to CBSSports.com. The comments referred to the son of Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert who represented the Cavaliers as one of the final three teams during the draft lottery Tuesday.
“What I said last night, I do believe in the power of story," Kahn said. "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.”
He added: “I’m just saying that, if you look at sports in general, typically fairy tale stories, Cinderella stories, whatever you want to say, those tend to dominate sports. I just knew when you’re standing there with a 14-year-old kid, logically the 14-year-old kid … it had nothing to do with being nefarious.”
Asked if he thought the draft was somehow manipulated to produce a better story, Kahn replied, "Absolutely not."
Kahn also said he wouldn’t be surprised if he received a fine for his original comments.
“I’ve had money taken away from me before,” Kahn said. “It probably won’t be the last time.”
-- Chuck Schilken
Photo: Timberwolves President David Kahn, left, Jazz General Manager Kevin O'Connor, and Nick Gilbert, 14, the son of Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, stand on the stage representing the final three teams during the 2011 NBA basketball draft lottery on Tuesday. Credit: Julio Cortez / Associated Press