How Much Money Will Jontay Porter’s Lifetime Ban For Betting Cost Him?


Back in 2014, the NBA agreed to a partnership with FanDuel, the daily fantasy sports betting company. People had certainly been gambling on games long before that, but it marked a turning point in how the league approached it. Now, it seemed to be encouraging betting, from which team would win to over/under props to individual bets on how players perform.

Of course, by welcoming gambling with open arms, the NBA also opened the door to make it easier for players to place bets. And it just cost one player his NBA career.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver and the league banned Toronto Raptors center Jontay Porter for life after investigating “gambling irregularities.” From January 26 to March 20, Porter made at least 13 bets, including some against his own team, ranging between $5 and $22,000.

In total, Porter placed $54,094 in bets. He won $76,059, a net profit that wouldn’t even cover his most expensive bet. Now, his career will end with 37 games played over the course of four seasons.

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The final straw came on March 20, when the Raptors played the Sacramento Kings. Porter “disclosed confidential information about his own health status to an individual known to be an NBA bettor,” and an associate of Porter placed an $80,000 parlay on several unders for Porter’s individual prop bets. That bet would have paid out $1.1 million — an absurd amount of money for a fringe player.

Porter, who had logged at least 20 minutes during the previous four games, played only two minutes and 43 seconds before sitting the rest of the game. He claimed an illness prevented him from getting back on the court. The curious decision caused the NBA to investigate further — and that $1.1 million payout? It never got paid.

Like his older brother, Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr., Jontay had a tumultuous start to his NBA career. While the elder Porter had multiple back surgeries, the younger Porter tore his knee twice—including once during a scrimmage before he was cleared to play—and looked like he might not stick in the NBA at all.

Porter made $2,397,933 during three seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies. He played in only 11 NBA games, all during the 2020-21 season, and considered quitting basketball entirely.

Then, the Toronto Raptors signed him to a two-way contract, meaning he could play both for the NBA’s Raptors and the G League’s Raptors 905. His salary for the year was about $410,000, and he appeared in 26 NBA games.

Porter was probably never going to be a superstar, but he showed flashes of potential this season. He had a nearly 3:1 assist-to-turnover ratio and shot 33% on 60 three-point attempts, both solid numbers for a big man. And for the first time in his career, he was healthy.

That’s all gone now, though. In the short term, the Raptors might be able to recoup some of the salary from Porter’s contract, so he could potentially lose a portion of that $410,000. He likely could have made the Raptors’ roster next season, which would have netted him a minimum salary north of $2 million.

And what if he played well enough to earn a long-term deal during the 2025 free agency period? His brother is currently on a five-year, $179 million contract. Jontay likely wouldn’t have reached that level, but something like a three-year deal worth $20 to $30 million? Certainly not out of the question for a solid backup center.

Instead, Porter will never find out what could have been.

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