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Recently the NBA opened an investigation into Jontay Porter, under some pretty fishy circumstances. If you’re wondering who Jontay Porter is, or the first time you’d heard of him was because of this developing story, that’s exactly why this is all so weird.

“Since I got this job, I’ve had at least one person yell something from the crowd every single night. About a particular player, or the spread, or points, rebounds, minutes, not fouling at the end of the game, fouling at the end of the game based on the over/under.”

—  Utah Jazz coach Will Hardy

Despite the fact that Porter (whose brother, Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr., is much more well known) plays for the Toronto Raptors on a two-way deal, averaging less than 15 minutes per game in the 26 games he’s played this season, bets placed on Porter were the top moneymakers on two separate days this season. On those days, it was the under on prop bets that brought in the top-dollar wagers and coincidentally, Porter left both of the games in question with injuries.

While we would all hope that the integrity of the majority of players could not be swayed by the gambling world, there is no denying how pervasive it has become.

Will Hardy said there has not been a single game since he took over as head coach of the Utah Jazz where he has not heard fans close to the court yelling at him, begging him to massage the game in a way that would favor bets placed by the fans.

“Since I got this job, I’ve had at least one person yell something from the crowd every single night,” Hardy said. “About a particular player, or the spread, or points, rebounds, minutes, not fouling at the end of the game, fouling at the end of the game based on the over/under.”

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Jazz center Walker Kessler said that during his rookie season he was shocked that he was getting direct messages on social media, chastising him for ruining prop bets that were placed on him.

Cleveland Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff recently revealed that last season he received threatening phone calls regarding gambling and he reported the incidents to the league office.

Michael Porter Jr. has come to the defense of his brother, saying he doesn’t think that Jontay would do anything to jeopardize his NBA career. But it’s clear just from anecdotal evidence that the pressures here are real and scary and fans have more access to players than ever before.

I doubt that this is the last time a story like this will come out, and we’ve likely only just scratched the surface on this topic.

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“I know Collin wants to play all 82. I know for a fact (laughs) that Collin wants to play all 82.” — Jazz coach Will Hardy on Collin Sexton

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Extra points

  • What keeps Jazz fans tuning in even when the team is losing? I asked, you answered (Deseret News)
  • Fred VanVleet was just the latest in a string of shooters to make the Jazz pay for poor defense (Deseret News)
  • Kris Dunn suspended two games for altercation with Jabari Smith Jr. (Deseret News)
  • Does the Jazz’s half-measure tank job really give them a chance to be a title contender? (KSL.com)

Around the league

Up next

  • March 29 | 7:30 p.m. MDT | Utah Jazz vs. Houston Rockets | KJZZ
  • March 31 | 7 p.m. MDT | Utah Jazz @ Sacramento Kings | KJZZ
  • April 2 | 7 p.m. MDT | Utah Jazz vs. Cleveland Cavaliers | KJZZ
  • April 5 | 8:30 p.m. MDT | Utah Jazz @ Los Angeles Clippers | KJZZ
Utah Jazz coach Will Hardy watches a free throw as the Utah Jazz and Minnesota Timberwolves play at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 16, 2024. The Jazz coach had some interesting things to say about this new era of sports gambling and how it affects him on the sidelines. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News