Toucher and Rich

BOSTON (CBS) — NBA owners shot down a proposal to change up the league’s current draft lottery system on Wednesday, a proposal Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was all for.

The proposed changes would have lowered the team with the worst record’s chances of winning the top overall pick from 25 percent to about 12 percent. The vote ended 17-13 in favor of the changes, but needed 23 votes in order to pass.

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Ainge spoke about those proposed changes on his weekly appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Thursday.

“It just evened out the lottery, and I thought it de-incentivized teams to want to go to the bottom of the barrel to get the best chance to get the No. 1 pick. There is still some incentive to be down low for draft purposes, but we feel like it would be better for the league and better for everybody in the NBA to have the incentive to win every night,” said Ainge. “I think it’s tough on fans, tough on ownership and tough on players and coaches when there is a lot of talk about losing games for the benefit of the franchise.”

But when the vote was over, some of the smaller market teams didn’t want to lose their chance at landing a potential franchise-altering player via the lottery.

“I think small market teams feel that you might have an option if there is some ridiculous player coming out. They have a chance to manipulate to get him, whereas they wouldn’t have a chance in free agency. There is some truth in that,” said Ainge. “I understand their prospective, but I don’t see it as beneficial to the entire league. They’re hanging on to that hope that the No. 1 pick may fall to them.”

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While Boston hasn’t been a destination for free agents in the past, Ainge hasn’t lost hope in getting a big-name player to sign with the Celtics.

“I think every situation is unique. I certainly haven’t lost hope in landing free agents in a market like Boston, even though we really haven’t done it much — if ever — throughout the history of the Celtics. I still think in the right place at the right time that can happen,” he said. “We’re still at a disadvantage with teams that don’t have to pay taxes or are in the sunshine, which seem to be more of a draw.

“But I’m not sure small market and big market matter as much as it has in the past, “said Ainge. “I think players want to win. They want to be paid and they want to win, and have a role that is significant. I think we can create an environment here in Boston where we can attract free agents.”

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