TIME Law

Nebraska Lawmakers Vote to Abolish Death Penalty

Neb. Gov. Pete Ricketts gestures during a news conference in Lincoln, Neb. on May 20, 2015.
Nati Harnik—AP Neb. Gov. Pete Ricketts gestures during a news conference in Lincoln, Neb. on May 20, 2015.

The state has enough votes to override a promised veto from Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts

(LINCOLN, Neb.) — Nebraska lawmakers gave final approval on Wednesday to a bill abolishing the death penalty with enough votes to override a promised veto from Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts.

The vote was 32 to 15 in Nebraska’s unicameral Legislature.

If that vote holds in a veto override, Nebraska would become the first conservative state to repeal the death penalty since North Dakota in 1973.

The Nebraska vote is notable in the national debate over capital punishment because it was bolstered by conservatives who oppose the death penalty for religious reasons and say it is a waste of taxpayer money.

Nebraska hasn’t executed a prisoner since 1997, and some lawmakers have argued that constant legal challenges will prevent the state from doing so again.

Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts, a death penalty supporter, has vowed to veto the bill. Ricketts announced last week that the state has bought new lethal injection drugs to resume executions.

Ricketts, who is serving his first year in office, argued in his weekly column Tuesday that the state’s inability to carry out executions was a “management problem” that he is committed to fixing.

Maryland was the last state to end capital punishment, in 2013. Three other moderate to liberal states have done so in recent years: New Mexico in 2009, Illinois in 2011, Connecticut in 2012. The death penalty is legal in 32 states, including Nebraska.

Independent Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha, who sponsored the Nebraska legislation, has fought for four decades to end capital punishment in the state.

Nebraska lawmakers passed a death-penalty repeal bill once before, in 1979, but it was vetoed by then-Gov. Charles Thone.

TIME Bermuda

Experts Inspect Cruise Ship That Got Stuck on Reef Near Bermuda

The cruise liner 'Norwegian Dawn' was stranded off the mid-Atlantic island of Bermuda after it lost power and ran aground on May 19, 2015.
NCL/EPA The cruise liner 'Norwegian Dawn' was stranded off the mid-Atlantic island of Bermuda after it lost power and ran aground on May 19, 2015.

"There was a sudden stop," one passenger said

(SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico)—Nearly 3,500 passengers and crew were allowed to disembark Wednesday in Bermuda after their cruise ship became grounded on a reef close to the British island as it tried to depart for Boston.

Norwegian Cruise Line said a team of experts was inspecting the ship that was stuck for nearly 6½ hours late Tuesday before a rising tide helped push it into deeper water.

“The ship is fully operational and guests are enjoying all onboard amenities and services,” a company statement said.

The ship ran aground as it departed Bermuda after a temporary malfunction in the steering system forced it slightly off course, the company said. The ship has 2,443 passengers and 1,059 crew members.

Passenger Rachel Hansen, from Londonderry, New Hampshire, said the ship was about three miles from Bermuda when it ran aground.

“We definitely felt it,” she told The Associated Press by telephone. “We were in the middle of eating dinner … There was a shudder for maybe 30 seconds to a minute and then there was a sudden stop.”

Hansen said she and her family gathered essential belongings and joined other people who went to the top of the ship to see what had happened. As the hours went by, she said passengers settled into their evening routine and the ship still held entertainment shows as planned.

The Norwegian Dawn was on a seven-day, round-trip cruise to Bermuda, where it spent three days in port.

The situation raised concern among those scheduled to travel from Boston to Bermuda aboard the Norwegian Dawn on Friday, including Nicole Boucher of Uxbridge, Massachusetts.

She said she had plans to travel with her mother and young daughter to celebrate their birthdays, but Norwegian cruise officials told her they didn’t know yet if the ship will available.

“It was a girls’ trip,” she said. “My mom actually let me know through Facebook and said, ‘Oh, this is our luck.'”

TIME finance

Top Banks Fined $2.5 Billion Over Currency Manipulation

(WASHINGTON) — Four big banks will pay $2.5 billion in fines and plead guilty to criminally manipulating global currency market going back to 2007.

JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Barclays and The Royal Bank of Scotland conspired with one another to fix rates on U.S. dollars and euros traded in the huge global market for currencies, according to a settlement announced Wednesday between the banks and U.S. Justice Department. Currency traders allegedly shared customer orders through chat rooms and used that information to profit ahead of their clients.

The criminal behavior took place between December 2007 and January 2013, according to the agreement.

A separate bank, UBS, has agreed to plead guilty to manipulating key interest rates and will pay a separate $203 million criminal penalty.

The broader settlement was long expected. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission had fined those banks a combined $1.4 billion for their involvement in the scheme last year.

Big banks have been fined billions of dollars for their role in the housing bubble and subsequent financial crisis. But even so, the latest penalties are big. Including a separate agreement with the Federal Reserve announced Wednesday, the banks will have paid nearly $9 billion in fines and penalties for their manipulation of the $5.3 trillion foreign exchange market.

Unlike the stock and bond markets, currencies trade nearly 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The market pauses two times a day, a moment known as “the fix.” Traders allegedly shared client orders with rivals ahead of the “fix”, pumping up currency rates to make profits.

Global companies, who do business in multiple currencies, rely on their banks to give them the closest thing to an official exchange rate each day. Banks are supposed to be looking out for their clients instead of using their clients’ needs to profit ahead of them.

It is rare to see a bank plead guilty to any wrongdoing. Even in the aftermath of the financial crisis, most reached what were known as “non-prosecution agreements” or “deferred prosecution agreements” with regulators, agreeing to pay billions in fines but not admit any guilt. If any guilt was found, it was usually one of the bank’s subsidiaries or divisions — not the bank holding company itself.

One of the most notable banks to plead guilty to any criminal wrongdoing was investment bank Drexel Burnham Lambert, which plead guilty to fraud in the 1980s following the implosion of the junk bond bubble.

TIME Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Calls Off West Bank Bus Segregation

Israelis ride the "Shabus" in Jerusalem on May 1, 2015
Gali Tibbon—AFP/Getty Images Israelis ride the "Shabus" in Jerusalem on May 1, 2015

Palestinians enter Israel for work each day from the West Bank

(JERUSALEM) — Israel’s prime minister has overruled his defense minister and called off a proposed plan to segregate Palestinians from Israelis on West Bank buses.

An official in the prime minister’s office said Benjamin Netanyahu called Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon Wednesday to tell him he found the proposal “unacceptable” and the two decided to freeze the plan.

Earlier on Wednesday, Yaalon launched the three-month pilot program following repeated complaints from Jewish settlers who ride the buses and say the Palestinian workers constitute a security threat and frequently engage in sexual harassment of female Jewish riders.

Thousands of Palestinians enter Israel for work each day from the West Bank and often ride alongside Jewish settlers.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog attacked the decision, saying it marked a “stain on the face of the country.”

TIME viral

$100 Million ‘Symbolic’ Judgment Entered in Dog-Attack Case

In this Dec. 9, 2014 photo, Steve Constantine recalls a vicious dog attack from his hospital bed in Detroit.
Mandi Wright—AP Steve Constantine recalls a vicious dog attack from his hospital bed in Detroit on Dec. 9, 2014

Constantine, 50, was mauled as he tried to feed dogs belonging to Derick Felton

(DETROIT) — A judge on Tuesday awarded a $100 million civil judgment to a man who lost most of his left arm, his left leg below the knee and his left ear in an attack by a pack of dogs outside a Detroit home.

It’s unlikely that Steve Constantine will collect anywhere near the amount entered by Wayne County Circuit Judge Daphne Means Curtis, but the meaning runs deeper than money, said Mark Bernstein, his attorney.

“It’s an enormously symbolic statement by the court that this type of conduct is unacceptable in our community,” Bernstein told The Associated Press. “The ability to collect is largely irrelevant. We wanted a number that got people’s attention.

“This was a powerful, loud and clear statement. There was a sense of enough is enough.”

Constantine, 50, was mauled in October as he tried to feed dogs belonging to Derick Felton at a house owned by Felton’s mother.

Police killed one dog at the scene and said they rounded up at least 11 other pit bulls or pit bull mixes that were later euthanized.

Felton faces trial in September on charges of harboring a dangerous animal causing serious injury. He and his mother, Elizabeth Collins Felton, are named in the civil case.

Felton’s lawyer in his criminal case has said the dogs that police rounded up belonged to him, but they weren’t the dogs that attacked Constantine.

The Associated Press left a message Tuesday seeking comment from Felton and his mother.

Neither appeared at Tuesday’s hearing, said Bernstein, who added that he would seek the house owned by Elizabeth Collins Felton as part of the judgment.

He said Constantine is being treated at a psychiatric hospital and has had 22 surgeries.

TIME Basketball

Warriors Rally Past Rockets 110-106 in Game 1 of West Finals

Golden State Warriors' Klay Thompson, right, fouls Houston Rockets' James Harden (13) during the first quarter of Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, May 19, 2015, in Oakland, Calif. At left is Warriors' Andrew Bogut.
Ben Margot—AP Golden State Warriors' Klay Thompson, right, fouls Houston Rockets' James Harden during the first quarter of Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in Oakland on May 19, 2015

The Golden State Warriors beat the Houston Rockets 110-106

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Down big at home, the Golden State Warriors went small.

It turned out to make a huge difference.

Stephen Curry hit two free throws in the final seconds to finish with 34 points, and the Warriors rallied from a 16-point deficit in the second quarter to beat the Houston Rockets 110-106 on Tuesday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.

With the Rockets seemingly ready to rout the home team, the Warriors used a smaller lineup featuring 6-foot-7 Draymond Green at center and closed the first half on a 21-4 run. Shaun Livingston scored 14 of his 18 points in the quarter, helping Golden State go ahead 58-55 at halftime.

The Warriors held off James Harden and Houston in the fourth quarter again behind their undersized lineup, which worked especially well after Rockets center Dwight Howard departed with a left knee injury.

“It really stretches people out,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of his lineup full of shooters. “Houston does the same thing. It was an interesting chess match, because they like to go small and we like to go small.”

Harden, the runner-up to Curry in the MVP voting, nearly brought the Rockets back without Howard in the fourth. Harden finished with 28 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists and four steals, but his late push fell short.

“You can’t give a really good shooting team easy layups and confidence,” said Harden, who shot 11 of 20 from the field. “That’s what we did in the second quarter.”

Game 2 is Thursday night in Oakland, and it’s unclear if Howard can play. Howard doesn’t think the injury will sideline him for the series.

“Hopefully Dwight is healthy and we can play big,” Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. “We didn’t have that option with Dwight out.”

Harden, serenaded with chants of “Over-rated!” from Warriors fans, mixed in a series of step-back jumpers and driving layups to help Houston even the score at 95-all midway through the fourth.

But the Warriors shut down Houston for long stretches, and Curry kept hitting shots to match Harden’s brilliance. Curry connected on a 3-pointer and converted a layup to put Golden State up 108-97 with 2:01 remaining.

“It’s entertaining basketball. We’re both supposed to help our team win and do what we can to impact the game,” said Curry, whose 2-year-old daughter Riley, playfully interrupted him during his postgame news conference.

The Rockets never relented, though, with Trevor Ariza making a 3-pointer that trimmed the Warriors’ lead to 108-106 with 14.6 seconds to play.

Curry twice caught the inbounds pass, and the Rockets were forced to foul him both times. He hit both free throws to seal Golden State’s win.

“When we go small, it’s not necessarily small. We have guys out there that can guard multiple positions,” Livingston said. “From there, it’s just feeding off our crowd.”

Curry added six rebounds and five assists, and Green had 13 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists to boost the Warriors when they needed it most.

Ariza scored 20 points and Josh Smith had 17 points and seven rebounds for the Rockets.

In the conference finals for the first time since 1976, the Warriors hardly looked like the league’s top-seeded team at the outset. Instead, the Rockets rode the momentum from a stunning 3-1 series comeback against the Los Angeles Clippers that ended with a Game 7 win in Houston on Sunday.

The only setback to Houston’s hot start came when Howard briefly left in the first quarter after colliding with Smith. Howard returned after a few minutes, and the Rockets raced out to a 49-33 lead midway through the second quarter that left the home fans stunned and silent.

That didn’t last long.

With Andrew Bogut in foul trouble and the Rockets rolling on both ends, the Warriors put Green — the runner-up for NBA Defensive Player of the Year — at center and spread the court with shooters.

Green helped get stops, Livingston scored 14 points in the quarter and Curry capped the spurt with a step-back 20-footer that sent the crowd roaring even louder. Fans later broke out in chants of “M-V-P!” as the Warriors sprinted to the locker room with a 58-55 lead.

They never trailed again.

“When you try to keep your big in against our small lineup,” Green said. “It’s rough.”

TIP-INS

Rockets: Houston is 0-5 against the Warriors this season. … The Rockets haven’t won at Golden State since Dec. 13, 2013.

Warriors: Golden State is 44-3 at home this season, including 5-1 in the playoffs. … The Warriors are 17-14 this season when trailing by at least 10 points.

CAPTAIN’S HANDSHAKE

The Rockets sent out seldom-used reserve Nick Johnson for the captain’s handshake with Curry, who was caught by cameras walking away and shaking his head, which created a stir on social media. Rockets captain Patrick Beverley is out with a left wrist injury and hasn’t been handling the ritual handshake in the playoffs.

DUELING BOXERS

Undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., who was booed by fans during Game 5 of the Grizzlies-Warriors series in Oakland, watched from a courtside seat. Also sitting among the crowd was boxer and Bay Area native Andre Ward, who was cheered loudly when shown on the videoboards.

TIME indonesia

Over 430 Migrants Taken to Indonesia After Months at Sea

Migrants sit on their boat as they wait to be rescued by Acehnese fishermen on the sea off East Aceh, Indonesia, May 20, 2015
S. Yulinnas—AP Migrants sit on their boat as they wait to be rescued by Acehnese fishermen on the sea off East Aceh, Indonesia, on May 20, 2015

More than 430 migrants stranded at sea were brought ashore to safety by Indonesian fishermen

(SIMPANG TIGA, Indonesia) — A flotilla of Indonesian fishermen rescued more than 430 migrants who were stranded at sea and brought them ashore to safety Wednesday, the latest victims of a humanitarian crisis confronting Southeast Asia. Hoping to find a solution, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia held an emergency meeting to address the plight of the migrants who are fleeing persecution in Burma and poverty in Bangladesh.

The migrants were rescued early Wednesday by more than a dozen fishermen’s boats, said Herman Sulaiman, from East Aceh district’s Search and Rescue Agency.

It was unclear if the migrants were on one boat or had come from several, but an initial batch of 102 people were the first brought to shore in the village of Simpang Tiga in Indonesia’s eastern Aceh province, Sulaiman and other rescuers said.

“They were suffering from dehydration, they are weak and starving,” Khairul Nove, head of Langsa Search and Rescue Agency in Aceh province. Among the 102 passengers were 26 women and 31 children, he said.

One of the migrants, Ubaydul Haque, 30, said the ship’s engine had failed and the captain fled, and that they were at sea for four months before Indonesian fishermen found them.

“We ran out of food, we wanted to enter Malaysia but we were not allowed,” he said.

One of the fishermen who led the rescue was 40-year-old Razali Puteh. He said he spotted a green wooden trawler crammed with people who were screaming, waving their hands and clothes at him to get his attention.

As he neared the trawler, people aboard began jumping into the water, trying to reach his boat. He said he asked them to stay on their boat, which apparently had no motor, and promised to return with help. He then returned with other fishing boats and brought the migrants to shore.

The rescue after Indonesia’s foreign minister said late Tuesday that the country had “given more than it should” to help hundreds of Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants stranded on boats by human traffickers.

The foreign minister, Retno Marsudi, was meeting Wednesday with his counterparts from Malaysia and Thailand in an emergency meeting called to discuss how to solve the migrant problem. Representatives from the U.N. refugee agency and the International Office for Migration were also expected to attend the meeting.

“This irregular migration is not the problem of one or two nations. This is a regional problem which also happens in other places. This is also a global problem,” Marsudi told reporters after a Cabinet meeting at the presidential palace.

Marsudi said Indonesia has sheltered 1,346 Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants who washed onto Aceh and North Sumatra provinces last week. The first batch came on May 10 with 558 people on a boat, and the second with 807 on three boats landed on Friday. Even before the crisis, nearly 12,000 migrants were being sheltered in Indonesia awaiting resettlement, she said, with most of those Rohingya Muslims who have fled persecution in Buddhist-majority Burma. No more than 500 of those migrants are resettled in third countries each year, she said.

“Indonesia has given more than it should do as a non-member-state of the Refugee Convention of 1951,” she said.

The crisis emerged this month as governments in the region began cracking down on human trafficking. Some captains of trafficking boats abandoned their vessels — and hundreds of migrants — at sea. About 3,000 of the migrants have reached land in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, but all three countries have pushed some ships away. Aid groups estimate that thousands more migrants — who fled persecution in Burma and poverty in Bangladesh — are stranded in the Andaman Sea.

Burma’s cooperation is seen as vital to solving the crisis, but its government has already cast doubt on whether it will attend a conference to be hosted by Thailand on May 29 that is to include 15 Asian nations affected by the emergency.

Associated Press writer Niniek Karmini in Jakarta contributed to this report.

TIME Crime

6 Chinese Nationals Charged With Stealing U.S. Trade Secrets

A logo sign outside of a facility operated by Avago Technologies in Allentown, Pennsylvania on April 12, 2015
Kris Tripplaar—Sipa USA/ AP A logo sign outside of a facility operated by Avago Technologies in Allentown, Penn. on April 12, 2015

Federal officials are concerned about China stealing U.S. technology

Three Chinese nationals who earned advanced degrees from the University of Southern California and three others have been charged with stealing wireless technology from a pair of U.S. companies.

Federal prosecutors say Hao Zhang, Wei Pang and Huisui Zhang met at the university and conspired to steal technology from Skyworks Solutions Inc. and Avago Technologies soon after graduating in 2006. Both companies are publicly traded chip suppliers for Apple’s iPhones and manufacture other communications-related products.

A 32-page indictment charging the six with economic espionage and trade secret theft was unsealed after Hao Zhang was arrested Saturday at Los Angeles International Airport after arriving from China to attend a scientific conference. The five others are believed to be in China.

Federal officials say foreign governments’ theft of U.S. technology is one of the biggest threats to the country’s economy and national security. They are particularly concerned with China.

State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said Tuesday the U.S. government takes “economic espionage” very seriously.

“This case demonstrates that the U.S. is committed to protecting U.S. companies’ trade secrets and their proprietary business information from theft. This is an important issue for the United States,” he told reporters in Washington.

A spokesperson at the Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday. The Chinese consulate in San Francisco was unaware of the indictment and declined to comment.

The indictment alleges that the three USC alums began plotting in late 2006 to steal trade secrets from the U.S. companies where Hao Zhang and Wei Pang worked.

Months after their 2006 graduation, Wei Pang sent an email to China discussing the trio’s plan to use purloined U.S. trade secrets to set up a factory in China to manufacture technology that eliminates interference from wireless communications, according to the indictment. Wei Pang boasted in the same email that the technology is worth $1 billion a year in the phone market alone, according to the indictment.

The indictment alleges that the men stole “recipes, source code, specifications, presentations, design layouts and other documents marked as confidential.”

Hao Zhang made a brief court appearance Monday in Los Angeles and remains in custody. It’s unclear if he is represented by an attorney.

The USC graduates received encouragement and support from officials at the state-run Tianjin University, according to the indictment.

In 2006, Hao Zhang worked for Skyworks Solutions Inc. in Woburn, Massachusetts, and Wei Pang took a job in Fort Collins, Colorado, with Avago Technologies, which has headquarters in San Jose, California, and Singapore.

Wei Pang allegedly sent an email to two other defendants soon after, forwarding notes he took during a work meeting in 2006.

“My work is to make every possible effort to find out about the process’s every possible detail and copy directly to China,” Wei Pang is alleged to have written.

Hao Zhang and Wei Pang quit their U.S. jobs in spring of 2009 to become professors at Tianjin University, a prestigious Chinese college 130 miles southeast of Beijing. The men worked with administrators and a graduate student to establish a Chinese company to make the technology.

Avago executives became suspicious of the Tianjin team when they saw Hao Zhang’s patent applications for technology created by the company, according to the indictment.

Richard Ruby, Wei Pang’s former boss at Avago attended a conference in China in late 2011 and toured the new Tianjin lab created by the defendants, according to the indictment. During that tour, he recognized technology stolen from Avago and confronted Wei Pang and Jingpin Chen, a college dean, the indictment stated.

Wei Pang and Jingpin Chen denied stealing any technology, according to the indictment.

Jingpin Chen is also named in the indictment along with Zhao Gang and Chong Zhou. None of the defendants in China could be reached for comment.

TIME North Korea

U.N. Chief Says North Korea Withdraws Invitation to Visit

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks during the 'UN Global Compact - Korea Leaders Summit' event in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, May 19, 2015.
Yun Dong-jin—AP U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks during the U.N. Global Compact: Korea Leaders SummiT event in Seoul on May 19, 2015

Because of North Korea's continuation of missile and other weapon tests relations on the peninsula remain strained

(SEOUL) — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday that North Korea had withdrawn an invitation to visit a factory park in the country, a day after he announced he would travel to the last major cooperation project between the rival Koreas.

Ban said Wednesday he wanted to go the Kaesong industrial park just north of the heavily fortified Korean border on Thursday as part of an effort to help improve ties between North and South Korea, which jointly run the park.

He would have been the first U.N. chief to visit the factory park, which opened in 2004 in the city of Kaesong. He would also have been the first head of the U.N. to visit North Korea since Boutros Boutros-Ghali in 1993.

Ban told a forum on Wednesday that North gave no reason when it informed the U.N. of its decision to cancel his trip.

“This decision by Pyongyang is deeply regrettable,” Ban said, adding he will spare no effort to encourage the North to work with the international community for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and beyond.

Ban’s cancelled trip comes as relations between the Koreas remain strained following the North’s continuation of missile and other weapon tests that South Korea views as provocations. There are also worries about North Korea after South Korea’s spy agency said last week that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had his defense chief executed by anti-aircraft gun fire in late April.

Analysts had said Ban’s trip won’t likely bring any major breakthrough in ties between the two Koreas.

The park opened during a period of warming ties between the Koreas and has been considered a test case for unification, pairing cheap local labor with South Korean know-how and technology.

It has survived periods of animosity, including the North’s artillery bombardment of a South Korean island in 2010, while other cross-border projects, such as tours to a scenic North Korean mountain, remain deadlocked.

In 2013, however, the park’s operations were halted for five months after North Korea withdrew its 53,000 workers amid tension over the North’s torrent of threats to launch nuclear attacks on Seoul and Washington.

The complex is a rare, legitimate source of foreign currency for the impoverished North.

The Korean Peninsula remains in a technical state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

TIME Basketball

Timberwolves Win Draft Lottery, Lakers Move to No. 2

NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum, left, congratulates Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor after the Timberwolves won the first pick in the draft, during the NBA basketball draft lottery, Tuesday, May 19, 2015, in New York.
Julie Jacobson—AP NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum, left, congratulates Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor after the Timberwolves won the first pick in the draft, during the NBA basketball draft lottery in New York City on May 19, 2015

Kobe Bryant was tweeting his support, sort of

(NEW YORK) — The Minnesota Timberwolves won the NBA draft lottery Tuesday night, the first time since 2004 the team with the worst record won the No. 1 pick.

After years of bad luck in the lottery, things finally worked out for the Wolves, who can perhaps choose between big men Karl-Anthony Towns of Kentucky and Jahlil Okafor of national champion Duke to put next to Rookie of the Year Andrew Wiggins.

“We’re in this for big stakes,” said Flip Saunders, the Wolves’ president and coach. “The big thing about this is getting good talent that can blend together. This is another big step.”

The Los Angeles Lakers moved from the fourth spot to second, keeping a pick they would have sent to Philadelphia if it fell outside the top five. The 76ers are third followed by the New York Knicks, who had the second-best odds of winning but instead fell to fourth 30 years after winning the first draft lottery and drafting Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing.

Not since Orlando won the right to pick Dwight Howard in 2004 had the NBA’s ultimate game of chance came out in favor of the team with the best odds. The Timberwolves had a 25 percent chance of landing the top pick after finishing 16-66.

But their fans knew not to get their hopes up after the Wolves had fallen backward eight times previously, including both times they were in the pole position, 1992 and 2011.

Several hundred fans gathered to watch on the big screen at Target Center in Minneapolis and erupted when the Lakers card came out of the envelope for No. 2, meaning Minnesota had finally earned the top pick for the first time.

“Hope is nice to have,” said Jason Vincent, a fan of the team since 2001.

The Lakers were the other big winners even without moving all the way to the top. Their pick was only protected in the top five as a condition of their trade with Phoenix for Steve Nash in 2012. That was dealt this season to the 76ers, who could have ended up with two top-six picks if the Lakers had fallen backward two spots.

Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant ended his tweet after seeing the results with #lakerluck and #goodday.

The lottery sets the top three picks. The remainder of the 14 non-playoff teams follow in inverse order of their won-loss record.

Things went according to form until the Knicks slid back two spots. General manager Steve Mills hoped history could repeat by wearing Dave DeBusschere’s Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame ring, which DeBusschere was wearing as the Knicks’ GM when they won the 1985 lottery.

The lottery began that year as a way to prevent teams from losing on purpose as a way to secure the top pick. Tanking may still exist — the 76ers have appeared to be angling for the draft with no regard for their record the last couple of seasons — but the Wolves appeared to lose honestly while battling numerous injuries with a young roster.

Their victory, with owner Glen Taylor on stage, was only the fifth time the team that finished with the worst, or tied for the worst record, won the lottery.

The Cleveland Cavaliers had won the last two and three of the previous four lotteries since LeBron James left them for Miami in 2010. But with James back home, the Cavaliers are in the Eastern Conference finals and Miami was in the lottery, and the Heat held in the No. 10 spot where they entered.

The Heat’s pick would have gone to Philadelphia if they fell out of the top 10.

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