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#pounditTuesday, February 7, 2023

NBA execs complain about rigged lottery after league-owned Hornets win top pick

The New Orleans Hornets won the NBA Draft Lottery on Wednesday night despite having the fourth-best odds with a 13.7% chance. The Bobcats, which had the worst record in the league, had a 25% chance of winning the lottery, but they ended up with the second pick. The Wizards, which had the second-best chance at 19.9%, got the third pick.

The Hornets’ surprising good fortune prompted several executives to complain to Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski that the lottery was fixed.

“The league still owns the Hornets,” a high-ranking exec told Woj. “Ask their front office if new owners can make a trade right now. They can’t. [The Hornets winning the lottery] is a joke.”

Many executives and fans who believe in conspiracies think Commissioner David Stern gave the Hornets the top pick in the draft in order to convince Saints owner Tom Benson to buy the NBA team and keep them in New Orleans.

Wojnarowski went on to write this particularly damning paragraph:

The reaction of several league executives was part disgust, part resignation on Wednesday night. So many had predicted this happening, so many suspected that somehow, someway, the Hornets would walk away with Davis. That’s the worst part for the NBA; these aren’t the railings from the guy sitting at the corner tavern, but the belief of those working within the machinery that something undue happened here, that they suspect it happens all the time under Stern.

Woj says many Hornets employees had to go along with Stern’s line that the Chris Paul to the Lakers trade never was completed because they felt they would be risking their future employment chances in the league if they criticized the mess.

I know it’s a taboo subject, but there have just been far too many whispers and examples of shadiness for us not to believe under-the-table deals and funny business goes on. The league cancels a trade to the Lakers and then the Hornets get the top pick and Anthony Davis? It’s quite a coincidence.

And as I am a GM brilliantly lays out for us, several players also voiced their concerns about potential fixing.


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