Maverick Carter, longtime manager and business partner of Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James, reportedly admitted to betting on NBA games through an illegal bookie in an interview with federal agents, according to Gus Garcia-Roberts of the Washington Post.
The interview in question took place during November 2021 as federal agents were investigating Wayne Nix, a bookie who has pled guilty to charges for his role in an offshore sports-betting ring.
Carter reportedly told the agents that he “could not remember placing any bets on the Lakers.”
Adam Mendelsohn, a spokesperson for Carter and James, refused to answer questions about James and said that Carter’s bets have nothing to do with the 38-year-old star.
Garcia-Roberts detailed some of the information Carter and his attorneys told investigators.
“Carter and his attorneys told investigators, the records show, that he placed approximately 20 bets on football and basketball games over the course of a year, with each bet ranging from $5,000 to $10,000,” he wrote. “An indictment in the case states that in November 2019, amid the Lakers’ championship season, Nix’s partner Edon Kagasoff told a ‘business manager for a professional basketball player’ via text that he could increase his wagers up to $25,000 on NBA games.”
The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) bars agents — not business managers — from betting on the NBA. Therefore, Rich Paul — the agent of James, Anthony Davis and plenty of other stars across the league — is not allowed to bet on the league.
Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen reportedly admitted to placing at least one bet with Nix, who apparently had a client list full of athletes. Former MLB player Yasiel Puig, who was accused of sexually assaulting a woman at a 2018 Lakers game, was among the clients.
Information was offered about Carter’s interview with investigators.
“The following month, investigators conducted a video interview with Carter, who was a passenger in his own car and joined in the interview by two attorneys,” wrote Garcia-Roberts after revealing details about Pippen’s interview with investigators. “According to a report detailing the interview, Mitchell, the prosecutor, also explained to Carter, as investigators routinely do, the statute making it a crime to lie during such an interview.
“Agents showed Carter photos of several people involved in the betting operation, according to the report, and he said he recognized just one of them: Nix, with whom he had played cards in Las Vegas on a couple of occasions.
“Carter said he met Nix in 2017 or 2018 through a friend named Jeff from Ohio, whose last name Carter said he couldn’t remember. But other records shed light on connections between Carter and Nix’s operation.”
Carter apparently told investigators that when he was in Las Vegas, Nix would be with him and others. Outside of Vegas, he’d only communicate with Nix via phone. Carter later said that he deleted Nix’s phone number after learning that the bookie was being investigated by the government.
Garcia-Roberts detailed more of what Carter told investigators.
“Carter acknowledged that he knew Nix was involved in gambling and said Nix owed him money from both poker and football,” he wrote. “The 20 bets he placed through Nix were on college football, the NFL and the NBA, Carter told the agents, and he said he would text Nix his bets or place them directly through Sand Island Sports, the Costa Rican website Nix used. Carter said he didn’t know of Edon Kagasoff.
“Carter said he paid and received winnings from Nix via wire transfers and cash, identifying one of his employees who he said handled the cash drops. The federal agents asked Carter if he had been ‘truthful and not misleading’ in any of his responses, according to the investigative report, and Carter said he was.”
After the interview, Colin Jennings, one of Carter’s attorneys, reportedly emailed prosecutor Jeff Mitchell to inform him that Carter “may have communicated” with Nix via a different phone. Jennings provided that number. The lawyer also wrote to Mitchell that Carter’s bets were typically between $5,000 and $10,000, with the cash drops being around $20,000 to $40,000.
Lakers fans are surely worried about Carter’s situation might affect James. However, given the fact that Carter was not charged, fans would likely be wise to stay calm.
James will certainly do his best to not let the situation affect him as he continues his pursuit of a fifth NBA title. He won one with the Lakers back in 2020 and reached the 2023 Western Conference Finals.
So far during the 2023-24 season, he’s averaging 25.1 points, 7.6 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game while knocking down 55.8 percent of his shots from the field and 38.8 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.
It’ll be interesting to see if Carter or James address the former’s situation anytime soon.