Marc Berman: As seventh seed, Knicks have an 80 percent of being either 7 or 8. They had already lost ping pong balls by winning finale.
Still, behind closed doors in the Celtics training facility in Waltham, there was disappointment. But there was no cursing Isaiah Thomas for being in the lottery room in New York and not bringing home the big prize. “There were some groans. I think the buildup, once we weren’t sixth and we weren’t five and we weren’t four, there was a lot of hope that we could get a good pick,” Ainge said. “But we’ll take it. We’ll give Isaiah a passing grade. We’ll keep him.”
The Lakers entered the drawing with the second-best odds – 19.9 percent, second only to Philadelphia’s 25 percent – and Black’s worst nightmare was seeing the Lakers moving down instead of up in the draft’s pecking order. Especially when most NBA officials firmly believe there are two players – Louisiana State’s Ben Simmons and Duke’s Brandon Ingram – who are head-and-shoulders above their draft classmates. So, just how nervous was Black? “Very,’’ he said in a serious tone. “I’ve been in a lot of pressure-packed situations during my career like the Finals. I was here for this last year, too, and I have to say this is even worse.’’
Even when the 76ers hit the lottery with the winning ping-pong combination of 1-10-5-9, neither Rubin nor Wrubel went bonkers. They both simply smiled before giving each other a hug. Asked why he didn’t show more emotion after winning the lottery, Wrubel said matter-of-factly, “When you get to the end zone, you’re supposed to quietly lay the football down.’’
Even though he is an avid college basketball fan – “I follow it pretty closely. I know a couple of names,’’ Wrubel joked – he wasn’t about to tip his hand. Cracked Wrubel: “We’re looking for the best kid out of the Ivy League.’’
Sixers executives celebrated inside the New York Hilton Midtown with hugs and cheers. “We deserved this,” they repeated to each other. The 76ers had the third overall pick each of the past two drafts. “The city has endured a lot over the past three seasons,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said. “Our fans deserve this. ... You just get a flood of memories when you hear you have the first pick. It just ties it all (together). I’m very thrilled for our organization. “I never felt jinxed. I never felt jinxed. I truly believe in what we’re doing. I feel like in many ways we’re being rewarded for our patience and perseverance — especially the city’s patience and perseverance.”
Before the drawing, Bryan Colangelo, the Sixers new GM, told ESPN.com he would contact Hinkie if the Sixers won the No. 1 pick. "It's unfortunate that Sam isn't here to be a part of this," Colangelo said. "But it was his choice."
It was a tweet that had been suggested in an email, which Mutombo forwarded to For The Win, sent from a team staffer in the event that the team did win the lottery. “As you know tonight is the NBA Draft Lottery and we are all excited and hopeful we walk away with the #1 overall pick,” the email read. “To help create excitement for the team, would it be possible for you (or whoever controls your account) to post a congratulatory tweet in the event we do get the #1 Overall Pick? I know you have ties to many teams, but none of which would be in the running for the #1 pick this year.”
There were sample tweets provided, along with a suggestion to just retweet the 76ers account. Mutombo said he was busy and didn’t read the email carefully, but wanted to be supportive so he posted the tweet. When he realized his mistake minutes later, he immediately took it down. “Sorry, guys,” he tweeted. “Got excited about the @sixers odds and got ahead of myself.Still keeping my fingers crossed for tonight.”
So when fans argue the tweet is proof the draft is rigged? “People will say whatever they want to say,” he said on Tuesday night. “… You cannot stop them.”
"I was in favor of changing the lottery," Adam Silver, the league's commissioner, told reporters after the drawing. "But we've parked the issue. We've said, 'Once we get through this summer of free agency, let's return to it and see if a modification is necessary.'"
Some of the more nefarious team executives sequestered in the drawing room wondered before the lottery if the league were aware of smart watches, and if they might be able to sneak in an Apple Watch and communicate the results in real time. Nope. The league specifically warned that all smart watches had to stay outside the room, along with phones and laptops.
Chris Dempsey: Michael Malone: "There will be a good player for us at (No. 7). I really believe that." #Nuggets
Jessica Camerato: Bryan Colangelo: "It is a highly unlikely scenario that anything comes forward that would lead us to move the pick." #NBADraftLottery #Sixers
Isaiah Thomas: "Man, I had jitters like I was getting drafted, like a playoff game or something. So I'm happy we got a pretty good pick. I guess it worked out a little bit."
Jake Fischer: For what it's worth, I heard in March from someone with knowledge of Sam Hinkie's thinking he preferred Brandon Ingram over Ben Simmons.
CBS NBA: So, Dikembe sent this out and then deleted the tweet. What does he know...or not know? https://t.co/G6DbL9XDyF
Alex Kennedy: My guess is that @officialmutombo confused the 76ers having the BEST ODDS for #1 pick with winning it. I just reached out to him to clarify. Dikembe Mutombo deleted his tweet that congratulated the Sixers.
Dikembe Mutombo: Sorry, guys.Got excited about the @sixers odds and got ahead of myself.Still keeping my fingers crossed for tonight.
Adam Zagoria: Thon Maker has been invited to tonight's Draft Lottery and won't work out tomorrow for Pacers b/c of scheduling. Still has Pacers & Bulls.
Karl-Anthony Towns: It will be an honor to wear one of Coach Saunders' wedding rings tonight at the lottery. Thank you, Ryan & Debbie. https://t.co/RrwD441JDV
Projected top pick Ben Simmons and his agent, Rich Paul, are now changing course and plan to wait until after the NBA's draft lottery on Tuesday to decide with which shoe brand to sign, sources told The Vertical. The thinking from Simmons' camp is straightforward and simple: It’s the Los Angeles Lakers or bust.
Nike is offering $7.5 million over five years with fewer performance incentives than the adidas contract structure. Nike, which presented second to Simmons last week, has shown an unwillingness to budge, sources said. Both offers are considered fair for a top pick.
Jake Fischer: Conferred with the league office: The Sixers have already submitted their pick swap with the Kings should Sacramento leapfrog Philadelphia. So if the Kings leapfrog the Sixers, the Kings' beautiful new logo will appear out of envelope first with "from Sixers" underneath. NBA league spokesman said each logo that's removed from envelopes will be of the team that has been awarded that pick post-trade conditions.
NBA Draft: The #DraftLottery Stage Participants & Lottery Room Reps announced for Tuesday's Lottery in NYC! https://t.co/T4Hj7Dx1BY
Below is an edited Q&A with Kiki Vandeweghe, the NBA’s senior vice president of basketball operations, on the league’s current NBA draft lottery system and why does not sense any “imminent” changes. This interview was part of a larger story capturing the various sentiments around the league on the NBA’s draft lottery system. What do you think of the current NBA lottery system? Vandeweghe: “The first thing is, the lottery is not supposed to incentivize losing. In theory, it’s supposed to help the teams with the worst record. That’s the whole purpose behind it. It’s been constructed in different ways and changed a variety of times over the course and adjusted as needed. But those are the two tenets to keep in mind.”
Have there been any recent league proposals to change it? Vandeweghe:: “Nothing recently. I don’t think see anything imminent. A year and a half ago, there was a lot of momentum for change. We brought some thoughts to the Board of Governors. The majority of the owners were in favor of change. But a change really takes a super majority. So we barely missed that. I don’t know what has happened in between that. We’ve focused on different areas. I would assume it hasn’t really changed that much.” What would be a super majority? Vandeweghe:: “3/4.” Would that be 23? Vandeweghe: “I’m pretty sure that’s right. That’s the number that’s written.”
I was told that one of the ideas the league thought of was to change the odds differently. The system would still be what it would, but you would adjust the percentages. Do you know if that’s accurate? Vandeweghe: “That’s certainly one of the concepts we looked at, but we’ve looked at a lot of things. We’ve spent a lot of time trying to look at and digest what is the right thing to do. Again, going back to the first thing I said, which is not to incentivize teams to lose, you want to make sure that you help the teams that you’re supposed to help and make sure it works in the right way. The spirit of the rule is the important thing to keep in mind in whatever we’re doing.
"I will be wearing my championship ring," said Grousbeck. "That is the one lucky charm I have in my life." Grousbeck is quick to downplay the influence of the person representing the team behind the scenes. Said Grousbeck, "I actually don’t believe that who is sitting there has any influence. ... I actually believe it’s just pretty random and it doesn’t matter who is sitting there." But Grousbeck is excited about having All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas on stage for the television reveal.
February 5, 2023 | 4:17 am EST Update
Changes could be coming — the trade deadline is Thursday. But after a day of rampant speculation, there’s pessimism that the Lakers will swing a deal for Kyrie Irving, because of the star Brooklyn point guard’s contract demands in free agency this summer, sources with knowledge of the situation not authorized to speak publicly told The Times.
LeBron went his typical route and deflected the question toward the Lakers’ front office, then threw in a comment that made his true feelings apparent. “That’s a (Rob Pelinka) question,” said LeBron when asked if Irving could make the Lakers a contender. “I don’t speak for our front office. My mindset is whatever lineup or whatever group we have, is to make sure we prepare ourselves the best way we can to go out and win. “Obviously, that’s a … ‘Duh’ question when you talk about a player like that.”
At the end of the day, the Nets don’t have to trade him if they don’t find anything worthwhile in return. As of writing, they still hold a top four seed in the East with Kevin Durant’s return from injury just around the corner. But according to Stephen A. Smith on a recent episode of NBA Countdown, his sources have indicated that Kyrie Irving could go full tilt on his demand by sitting out the season if he isn’t moved. “Kyrie Irving is prepared to sit out the rest of the season if need be,” said Smith. “That’s what I’m being told. I don’t know whether I believe that, but that’s what people are saying.”
The LA Clippers have not only been scouring the trade deadline market for an upgrade at point guard, but also “have assets that the Nets actually might want” in a potential trade for Irving, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. “The LA Clippers have been the team that has been leading the pursuit of point guards in this trade deadline market. I think that the Clippers would be skeptical of going for Kyrie Irving and upsetting the balance that they have. Having said that, the Clippers have assets that the Nets actually might want. They have players under contract, under control that if you traded, that might actually get the Nets more interested than an expiring Russell Westbrook contract. Because I don’t think that the Lakers can honestly give those [future first-round picks] for Kyrie Irving if he’s a possible rental. And that’s really the issue here is, do you value him as a rental or do you value him as a player you have to try and pay?”
Kristian Winfield: . @IanBegley on the Clippers’ rumored interest in Kyrie Irving: “They’ve told people that I’ve been in touch with that they’re not that interested in Irving. So maybe that’s more so coming from the Nets.”
Erik Slater: Cam Thomas on Kyrie Irving’s trade request: “Everyone was surprised, but that’s not my business. That’s still my brother at the end of the day. He’s one of the few guys who I really consider a brother in basketball. Just a big brother who I can look up to and ask anything to.”
Starting center Nic Claxton said he woke up to the shocking Kyrie Irving news. “I was taking a nap and I looked in one of my group chats and I saw it and I was like, ‘Wow,’ ” he said. “It just caught me off guard. But it is what it is.”
Claxton, who has spoken highly of Kyrie Irving at several points this season, said he doesn’t have hard feelings towards his teammate following the surprise move: “I can’t judge a grown man for his decisions,” he said. “At the end of the day, he’s doing what’s best for him. I stand by him and I stand with my teammates here in this locker room.”