While the Toronto Raptors are the only NBA franchise located outside of the United States to ever win a championship, at least one notorious league figure suggests the league wouldn’t be in favour of them doing it again.
Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy, who spent 18 months in US federal prison for his role in a betting scandal during the 2000s, is suggesting that the league isn’t the biggest fan of the Raptors themselves.
In an episode of Dishes & Dimes published Monday, Donaghy was asked about the general view of Toronto among referees league-wide, and he provided an interesting answer.
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“It’s funny, when I was there anyway, when you saw Toronto on your schedule, you kind of cringed a little bit because there wasn’t much to do there; you had to go through customs. You didn’t really know anyone there,” Donaghy said.
“It was kind of tough when you saw Vancouver or Toronto on your schedule. But as time went on you did start to meet people there, and it is a fun and exciting city, but from a global attention, I don’t think the league is hoping they win too many more championships.”
Donaghy, who has candidly spoken in the past about how relationships and outside interests such as ratings and money can influence NBA games, didn’t elaborate on why the league wouldn’t be a fan of Toronto winning again.
But it’s easy to draw the conclusion why a league with 29 American teams could favour one of those teams succeeding ahead of the Raptors.
Donaghy has admitted to providing information in exchange for money to a gambling ring about his projected outcome of NBA games, though he denies ever actually influencing his games in one team’s favour.
However, many people, including author Sean Patrick Griffin of the book Gaming the Game, have gone on record to show that the betting lines in games worked by Donaghy moved in a frequency that strongly suggests he was directly influencing the outcomes.
In the immediate future, the NBA probably doesn’t have much to worry about when it comes to Donaghy’s latest suggestion about their incentives.
Toronto is coming off a year where they won just 41 games and aren’t expected to make much noise in the league, particularly after the loss of former All-Star guard Fred VanVleet.