Adam Silver says gambling probe of Raptors’ Jontay Porter could lead to banishment from NBA

NEW YORK (AP) – Toronto‘s Jontay Porter could face expulsion from the league if the gambling-related accusations against him are found to be true, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Wednesday.

Silver, speaking after a two-day meeting of the league’s Board of Governors, did not reveal any specifics about the investigation surrounding Porter, other than saying the probe is ongoing. Porter has not played since the league said it was looking into betting patterns surrounding his on-court performance.

“I have enormous range of discipline available to me,” Silver said. “It’s cardinal sin what he’s accused of in the NBA. 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.”

ESPN first reported the investigation, which it said surrounded Porter’s performance in games on Jan. 26 and March 20. In both of those games, Porter played briefly before leaving citing injury or illness – and did not come close to the numbers that were offered to bettors as prop wagers in those contests. That means those who basically bet against Porter would have cashed in, because he left those games before reaching the lines set by sportsbooks for his points and rebounds in those contests.

Some sportsbooks have said they were alerted to odd betting patterns surrounding the Porter prop offerings in those games, which means it’s likely that the league – which has business relationships with many wagering companies – may have received some of that same information.

“I mean, this is not new that there’s unsavory behaviour, even illegal behaviour, around sports betting,” Silver said. “I guess my point is that to the extent it’s going to exist, if you have a regulated environment, you’re going to have a better chance of detecting it than you would if all the bets were placed illegally.”

Porter was listed as out, with the team citing personal reasons, for the 10th consecutive game on Wednesday with the Raptors in Brooklyn to take on the Nets. The Raptors finish the season with games at Miami on Friday and Sunday. Porter’s absence started almost simultaneously to the revelation that the NBA was probing the betting patterns surrounding his games.