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NBA general manager concedes he's playing for shot at Andrew Wiggins

October 30, 2013|By Ben Bolch
  • Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins scored 16 points and collected six rebounds in his exhibition debut for the Jayhawks in a victory over Pittsburgh State, 97-57, on Tuesday.
Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins scored 16 points and collected six rebounds… (Orlin Wagner / Associated…)

One NBA general manager has finally admitted it: The goal for his sad sack team is Andrew Wiggins, not Larry O’Brien.

The anonymous executive told ESPN The Magazine that his team is going all in on increasing its odds of drafting Wiggins, the franchise savior from Kansas who is expected to be the top pick in June.

That means losing games. A lot of them.

The payoff for finishing with the league’s worst record would be a 25% chance at landing the draft’s No. 1 pick.

“You need superstars to compete in this league,” the general manager told ESPN, “and the playing field for those guys is tilted toward a few big-market teams. They are demanding trades and getting together and deciding where they want to go in free agency. It’s tough for us to compete with that. So a high lottery pick is all we have.

“How do you pull it off? First, you talk it over with ownership. I analyzed the team and told them what I wanted to do, the guys I wanted to get rid of and the guys with future value whom we wanted to keep. We obviously traded away some of our veteran guys who gave us a better chance of winning right now for future draft picks and young players. The owners didn't want to tread water any more than I did. They'd rather go down to the bottom with the hope of coming up, so they signed off on it. It wasn't a fight at all. In a different season, it might not make sense, but this draft certainly makes it more appealing.

“Our coach understands that too. It's no secret what we're trying to do, and you can't lie to him anyway or you'll lose all trust. We never really had to tell him, because the handwriting is on the wall. He knows exactly what's going on, and he's good with it.

Here’s betting the fans paying five figures for courtside seats might have a different take on it.


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