The NBA’s draft lottery reform was voted down by the league’s owners Wednesday at the Board of Governors meetings in New York, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The current lottery system – a weighted format in which the worst team has 25 percent of the pingpong balls for the No. 1 overall pick and a guarantee it'll drop no lower than fourth in the draft order – will remain as 13 teams voted against reform, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
"Several teams started to wonder about unintended consequences and voted ‘no’ to be able to do further study," one owner told Yahoo Sports.
Among the “no” votes were big-market teams Chicago and Washington, a source said, with small-market Sacramento, in a strange twist, voting for lottery reform.
The remaining teams that voted no were Phoenix, Philadelphia, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Detroit, Miami, Milwaukee, San Antonio, Utah, Washington and Atlanta, sources said.
On Tuesday, it appeared likely that the reform would pass, with opponents Philadelphia and Oklahoma City seemingly struggling to get the support of six more teams to block the movement.
Under the proposal, the worst four teams would have had a 12 percent chance at the first pick, No. 5 would have had an 11.5 percent chance, No. 6, 10 percent, and on down. What's more, the worst team could have dropped as far as seventh in the draft order, the second worst could drop to No. 8, and so on.
With the current system, the bottom three teams have 64 percent, 56 percent and 47 percent chances of getting top-three picks. Under the proposal, that would have changed to 35 percent.
Thunder general manager Sam Presti had campaigned against the reform, thinking it would give big-market franchises another advantage over small markets. Big-market teams have an advantage signing superstar free agents and an advantage trading for them because those players are far more apt to agree to sign a contract extension. The lottery proposal created some concern that big-market teams would also get better access to top players higher in the draft.
Wednesday’s development obviously didn’t leave everyone thrilled. One glum general manager told Yahoo Sports: "Well, we still have the 'be-as-[expletive]-as-humanly-possible' strategy available in the future if we need it."
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