Pelicans star quickly catches himself making gambling reference, throws shade at banned player

Larry Nance Jr. is confident in his New Orleans Pelicans in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Maybe a little too confident.

The Pels earned the No. 8 seed after their win in the play-in tournament Friday night, earning a date with the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder for the first round.

OKC is understandably the favorite, especially considering Zion Williamson will likely miss the first round with a hamstring injury he suffered in New Orleans’ first game of the tournament.

Larry Nance

Jose Alvarado of the New Orleans Pelicans high-fives Larry Nance Jr. (22) during a game against the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2024 SoFi Play-In Tournament April 16, 2024, at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. (Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images)

But Nance quickly had to retract a statement that showed his tremendous confidence.

“Respectfully, I’m betting on the Pels. I’m not betting,” Nance said, quickly realizing what he had said and getting a laugh from reporters.

“No Jontay Porter. I’m not betting,” Nance clarified. “I’m not betting on anything. I don’t own a betting app, none of that.”

Nance was referring to the player issued a lifetime ban earlier this week for his involvement in wagering.

Porter was banned after the NBA found in an investigation he disclosed confidential information to sports bettors and bet on games in violation of league rules.

Jontay Porter shoots basketball

Jontay Porter of the Toronto Raptors warms up before a game against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Moda Center March 9, 2024, in Portland, Ore.  (Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

The league said an investigation discovered before “the [Toronto] Raptors’ March 20 game, [Jontay] disclosed confidential information about his own health status to an individual he knew to be an NBA bettor.

“Another individual with whom Porter associated and known to be an NBA bettor subsequently placed an $80,000 parlay proposition bet with an online sports book, to win $1.1 million, wagering [Jontay] would underperform in the March 20 game.” 

He only played three minutes in the March 20 game, claiming to have been sick. The $80,000 prop bet was frozen and not paid out.

Jontay Porter passes ball

Jontay Porter (34) of the Toronto Raptors handles the ball during a game against the Detroit Pistons March 13, 2024, at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.  (Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images)

The NBA said it found that, from January to March of this year, while Jontay was either with the Raptors or its G League team, Raptors 905, he placed “at least 13 bets on NBA games using an associate’s betting account.”

The Thunder-Pelicans series begins Sunday.

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