Adam Silver: Raptors’ Jontay Porter accused of ‘cardinal sin’ in betting scandal, full ban a possibility

Jontay Porter, the brother of Nuggets star Michael Porter Jr., hasn’t played since the league’s investigation began late last month

The NBA’s investigation into betting irregularities surrounding Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter is still ongoing. NBA commissioner Adam Silver, however, is open to the idea of a harsh punishment for Porter if warranted.

Silver called what Porter is accused of doing a “cardinal sin," according to ESPN's Tim Bontemps. Depending on what the investigation finds, Silver said, it could result in Porter’s banishment from the NBA entirely.

"I have an enormous range of discipline available to me," Silver said in New York City on Wednesday. "But it's a cardinal sin, what he's accused of in the NBA, and the ultimate, extreme option I have is to ban him from the game.

"That's the level of authority I have here. Because there's nothing more serious, I think, around this league when it comes to gambling betting on our games. And that is a direct player involvement. And so, the investigation is ongoing, but the consequences could be very severe."

NBA investigating betting irregularities surrounding Jontay Porter

The league launched an investigation into Porter late last month over several betting irregularities centered around two Raptors games this year. In both of those games, there was increased betting interest on the under for several Porter prop bets, all of which hit after he left the games just a few minutes in.

The first instance in question was during the Raptors’ loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Jan. 26. Porter played just four minutes during that contest before he was ruled out due to an eye injury he sustained days earlier. He finished with no points, three rebounds and one assist, and he didn’t attempt a 3-pointer in the contest. The under on all four of those categories hit, and the under on his 3-pointers was the biggest money winner on all NBA prop bets that day through DraftKings Sportsbook.

Then on March 20, when the Raptors fell to the Sacramento Kings, a similar thing happened. Porter played just three minutes in that game before he was ruled out with an illness. He didn’t score, had two rebounds and missed one shot — which allowed the unders in all of those categories to hit. Once again, his prop bets were the top moneymaker for NBA bettors that night.

The league is investigating Jontay Porter over several betting irregularities in which player props on him all hit after he left games early in recent months.
The league is investigating Jontay Porter over several betting irregularities in which player props on him all hit after he left games early. (AP/David Zalubowski)

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, there were multiple betting accounts that tried to place large amounts — “upwards of $10,000 and $20,000” — on Porter unders for the Jan. 26 game. Player prop bets, though they differ per sportsbook, are typically limited to $2,000 maximum per bet.

NBA players, coaches and all league employees are prohibited from placing bets — whether that’s on the outcome itself or on prop bets of any kind — on NBA games.

"At the end of the day, there's nothing more important than the integrity of the competition," Silver said. "And so, any issue raised around that is of great concern to me and to all commissioners, to all people who are safeguards, who are all people who are in a position and have a responsibility to safeguard the game. Again, this is a burgeoning industry in the United States. It's been legal in other places in the world for decades. There's lessons to be learned from the way that sports betting is monitored and regulated in other jurisdictions.

"And again, I think as these unfortunate examples come along, we may have to adjust our rules and our partner gaming companies and those companies that aren't our partners may have to adjust their behavior as well."

Jontay Porter headshot
Jontay Porter
PF - TOR - #34
2023 - 2024 season

Porter, who is the brother of Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr., has not played since March 22. The 24-year-old is in his first season with the Raptors, and he’s on a two-way deal with the franchise. He’s averaged 4.4 points and 3.2 rebounds in 26 games this season.