Toronto Raptors center Jontay Porter (34) and forward Jordan Nwora...

Toronto Raptors center Jontay Porter (34) and forward Jordan Nwora (13) reach for the rebound during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, Wednesday, March 13, 2024, in Detroit. Credit: AP/Carlos Osorio

DENVER — Denver Nuggets forwared Michael Porter Jr. said Wednesday night that he’s sure his younger brother would never do anything to jeopardize his budding NBA playing career.

The league announced Monday it has opened an investigation into Toronto two-way player Jontay Porter amid gambling allegations. ESPN first reported the probe, which it said surrounded Porter’s performance in games Jan. 26 and March 20. In both games, Porter played briefly before leaving citing injury or illness. In both of those games, Porter did not come close to hitting the prop-wager lines for points, rebounds and 3-pointers that bettors could play.

Michael Porter Jr. took the podium following the Nuggets’ loss to the Suns Wednesday night and was asked about the probe involving his brother.

Michael Porter Jr. said he has no more details than the media does but he vouched for his brother, who at 24 is a year younger than him, saying “Jontay loves the game of basketball” and has been thrilled to play for Toronto this season.

“I've known my brother my whole life. I know what type of dude he is and I know he's excited to play basketball and I highly doubt he would do anything to put that in jeopardy," Michael Porter Jr. insisted.

Jontay Porter hasn't publicly addressed the situation and he has missed the last couple of the Raptors' games with the team citing personal reasons.

The younger Porter is averaging 4.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 26 games, including five starts. The 6-foot-10 Porter also played in 11 games for Memphis in the 2020-21 season.

Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant, left, is defended by Denver...

Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant, left, is defended by Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 27, 2024, in Denver. Credit: AP/David Zalubowski

The NBA has had business relationships with gaming companies for years, and lists FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings as official gaming partners. The league also has relationships with at least 24 other gaming operators.

Last week, Cleveland Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff revealed he received threats from gamblers last season and reported it to the NBA. Bickerstaff was asked the question after All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton of the Indiana Pacers indicated days earlier that he’s grown tired of regularly hearing criticism from people on social media about their prop bets.

Michael Porter Jr. offered a similar appraisal Wednesday night, saying he and others regularly hear how their on-court performance affects bettors.

“Yeah, especially the last few years you hear people in the crowd saying what they need you to score tonight or what they don't want you to score,” Michael Porter Jr. said. "Every night you're disappointing someone. You're disappointing people if you score too much because they may have bet on the under, and you're disappointing people if you didn't score enough.

“So, it's a part of the game now. I think that it's obviously a dangerous habit. It's a dangerous vice for people,” Michael Porter Jr. added. “You know, the love of money is the root of all evil. So, I think that even though it is a thing, we as players just have to accept that. We get paid a lot of money to play this game and I know these people, these fans, they want to make some money, as well. ...

"It's definitely something that has kind of taken over the sporting world — I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing.”

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