Raptors offer no comment on report that player is under investigation for gambling

The NBA has opened an investigation into Toronto Raptors backup centre Jontay Porter amid gambling allegations, a person with knowledge of the probe said Monday night.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press. The Raptors had no comment when asked by The Canadian Press.

An NBA spokesperson told CP that the league is “looking into it” when reached for comment. CBC Sports has not independently confirmed the reports.

ESPN first reported the investigation, which it said included Porter’s performance in games on Jan. 26 and March 20. In both games, Porter played briefly before leaving citing injury or illness; he played 4 minutes and 24 seconds against the Los Angeles Clippers in the first of those games, then played 2:43 against Sacramento in the second game.

In both cases, he did not come close to hitting the prop-wager lines for points, rebounds and three-pointers that bettors could play. ESPN said the props surrounding Porter for the Clippers game were 5.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists; he finished with no points, three rebounds and one assist. For the Kings game, they were around 7.5 points and 5.5 rebounds; Porter finished that game with no points and two rebounds.

Porter has been on Toronto’s inactive list since Saturday for “personal reasons.” Head coach Darko Rajakovic had given Porter a more prominent role in the Raptors’ rotation after starting centre Jakob Poeltl had surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left hand on March 6.

There was still a nameplate above Porter’s locker at Scotiabank Arena before Monday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets but it was empty. Few of his teammates were in Toronto’s locker room pre-game, with one refusing to answer any questions about the situation.

Jordan Nwora, who’s just in his second season in the NBA, said he couldn’t comment on Porter’s situation as he had only just learned about it himself from social media.

“I think it’s just simple,” said Nwora on what kind of education players get from the league on gambling protocols. “Just stay away from basketball stuff and other than that, you’re good.

“That’s what we learned about it. Same going as far back as college.”

Ontario is the only jurisdiction in Canada where betting on sports through online bettors is legal. However, the NBA has strict rules on gambling.

Anyone affiliated with the NBA — players or employees for any of the 30 teams or the league overall — cannot bet on the NBA or any of its properties. That includes the NBA, summer league, WNBA, G-League, Basketball Africa League or NBA2K League.

If sports betting is legal where that person is, betting on other sports is permitted.

Nwora said that he and other players hear from fans about how their performance is impacting their bets constantly.

“All the time. Non-stop,” said Nwora. “You get messages. You hear it on the sideline. You see guys talking about it all the time.

“It is what it is. It comes with being in the NBA. People bet on silly things on a daily basis. So I mean, it’s part of being in the NBA, it’s what comes with it. I get it.”

The 24-year-old Porter is averaging 4.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists over 13.8 minutes per game this season. He is on a two-way contract with the G League’s Raptors 905.

Porter also played in 11 games for Memphis in the 2020-21 season.

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