Maverick Carter, the business partner and manager of LeBron James, told federal investigators he bet on the NBA with an illegal bookie.
The Washington Post reports Carter told federal investigators in November 2021, when they were investigating reputed California-based bookie Wayne Nix.
Nix eventually pleaded guilty to multiple federal charges, the US Department of Justice announced in March 2022.
Maverick Carter bets during title run
Carter told federal agents he “could not remember placing any bets on the Lakers,” according to a summary of the interview cited by the Post.
Carter eventually placed about 20 bets on football and basketball with stakes between $5,000 and $10,000 each over a year. One of Nix’s partners, Edon Kagasoff, communicated with a business manager for an NBA player in November 2019 about increasing stakes to $25,000 on NBA games.
That is the same season James led the Lakers to an NBA Championship in the pandemic bubble.
Carter would not answer questions concerning James, noting the betting had nothing to do with him and he never placed bets for other people.
What we knew about Nix ring
There were a number of sports professionals that bet with Nix’s organization beginning in 2016. That was when Nix received $245,000 from a pro football player, $8,000 from a baseball analyst, and $4,000 from an MLB coach, all of which covered gambling losses.
An unidentified sports broadcaster also refinanced his house to repay Nix. A former pro football player worked for Nix that year as well, taking a commission on losses of two new bettors.
The Justice Department also said former MLB player Yasiel Puig lost $282,900 to Nix by June 2019. He then allegedly paid Nix $200,000 and placed another 899 bets before October 2019.
New info on Nix
A separate investigation showed NBA Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen also placed at least one bet with Nix.
Nix also rubbed elbows with others in the NBA as he golfed at Michael Jordan‘s private golf course with other NBA team owners and stars from other sports, media and Hollywood celebrities, the Post said.
The prosecutor in Puig’s case also noted that Carter and Pippen made “arguably” or “technically” false statements during interviews but later clarified those statements.
At one point, Pippen told agents over the phone that Nix was a good friend but denied knowing he was a bookie.
Another tie to James?
An alleged significant client of Nix is Joey Schottenstein, the son of Ohio billionaire Jay Schottenstein.
James previously referred to the Schottensteins as “family,” attended the wedding of another of Jay’s sons, and helped promote another son’s clothing line.
Joey Schottenstein also received the $200,000 payment from Puig in two separate checks, the Post reported.
Maverick Carter spokesperson statement inaccurate
Adam Mendelsohn, a spokesperson for both Carter and James, confirmed the interview to the Post.
“In 2021 and before 38 states and the District of Columbia legalized sports betting, Maverick Carter was interviewed a single time by federal law enforcement regarding their investigation into Wayne Nix,” the spokesman, Adam Mendelsohn, said in a statement. “Mr. Carter was not the target of the investigation, cooperated, was never charged, and never contacted again on the matter.”
The post-PASPA legal US sports betting era began in Delaware in June 2018 and quickly began to spread throughout the country. There were 24 US jurisdictions with legal sports betting when Carter was interviewed in November 2021.
Not against the rules, though
Generally, anyone associated with an NBA team or the league is not allowed to bet on league games.
The league does not mention agents or business managers in its rules. The NBPA, the league’s players union, does not allow agents to bet but also does not mention business managers.
The league and the union both declined comment to the Post.