Minnesota Timberwolves Team President David Kahn is shocked that his comments Tuesday night after the Cleveland Cavaliers won the first pick in the NBA Draft lottery were taken seriously according to a report published in the “Star Tribune” on Wednesday. The T-Wolves had the worst record in the Association during the regular season but ended up with the second selection in next month’s draft. The Cavaliers had Team Owner Dan Gilbert’s 14-year-old son representing the team and Kahn told reporters that may have been a factor in their getting the number one pick.
Kahn spoke to reporters immediately after the lottery and was asked how he felt about falling to number two in the process. Kahn inferred that maybe the process was not totally on the up and up. He told media members “I also feel strongly that once the 14-year-old kid hit the dais with us, we were dead. There was no way. This league has a habit, and I’m just going to say a habit, of producing some pretty incredible story lines. Last year it was Abe Pollin’s widow, and this year it’s a 14-year-old boy who I only had one thing in common with: we’ve both been bar mitzvahed.”
The comments much to the Minnesota President’s surprise created an immediate backlash on the Internet, in print as well as on TV and radio. Kahn told reporters he was shocked that the comments were taken in a serious vein. He said “It was completely meant in a light-hearted fashion. And it was received as such. Nobody followed up with, ‘What are you trying to say?’ Nobody’s antenna went up. … Nobody there listening said, ‘He’s trying to (suggest a conspiracy).’ It was the opposite. They laughed. They knew it was a joke.”
This might not be the end of this issue for Kahn as NBA Commissioner David Stern was most likely far from pleased by Kahn’s alleged attempt at humor. There have been rumors for years that the Draft lottery might be “fixed” and having an executive suggesting as such will only add fuel to that fire. Stern has shown little tolerance when any employee of the NBA has criticized the Association. Kahn may soon find out that his joke has left him a lot lighter in the wallet.