Whether you want to believe that it was a coincidence or not, NBA insider Shams Charania, who is a partner at FanDuel, may have influenced some betting lines with information that he tweed out prior to Thursday’s draft.
While it may have been a seemingly harmless tweet on the surface, as Charania is a respected NBA insider, there has been quite the fallout. Charania reported that Scoot Henderson was gaining serious momentum at No. 2 with the Charlotte Hornets, who were seemingly torn over selecting either him or Alabama’s Brandon Miller.
Sources: Scoot Henderson is gaining serious momentum at No. 2 with the Charlotte Hornets in tonight’s NBA draft. Hornets have been torn over the last week between Henderson and Brandon Miller. Team has final meetings today to settle on decision.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 22, 2023
After Charania sent that tweet, the betting markets changed. Henderson’s odds increased in likelihood over Miller to be the No. 2 overall pick in Thursday night’s NBA Draft. The top choice had long been decided, as super prospect Victor Wembanyama was tabbed to go first overall. And he did.
But then something happened: Charlotte didn’t pick Henderson at all. The Hornets selected Miller, not Henderson. According to NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, that was the plan.
All along, the entire Charlotte Hornets organization has been all-in on Brandon Miller — ownership, front office, scouts, coaches. They see him as a perennial future All-Star player.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 23, 2023
So, what gives?
Yes, Charania got it wrong. It happens in the industry, but that’s not the issue here. What’s called into question is the ethics that surround a journalist reporting something that is directly involved with betting markets while also being on the payroll of a sportsbook. There remains a huge possibility that by tweeting out what people perceived as insider information, the betting markets for the 2023 NBA Draft could have largely been manipulated.
FanDuel broke its silence and provided a statement, pleading ignorance to the situation at hand.
“FanDuel is not privy to any news that Shams breaks on his platforms,” read the statement via Darren Rovell.
FanDuel breaks silence on @ShamsCharania Scoot to No. 2 backlash from bettors in a statement:
“FanDuel is not privy to any news that Shams breaks on his platforms.”
More to come on @ActionNetworkHQ.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) June 23, 2023
Charania is the co-host of Run It Back on FanDuel TV. So, the likelihood that his bosses at FanDuel are not privy to any information that he reports on his platform(s) is questionable at best. And sure, they could be ignorant of what Charania reports for The Athletic and Stadium, but when that information is relayed on their airwaves, it’s hard to play that card.
Especially since Charania made an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show, which is still platformed by FanDuel (!), and reported on Thursday that Henderson was gaining momentum to Charlotte at No. 2.
“Right now, you’re saying Scoot is the leading candidate for the No. 2 overall, but that may change before draft time because [the Hornets] are conflicted,” McAfee told Charania. “That was not what the books were just saying literally five minutes ago. Brandon Miller was the guy going No. 2 in sportsbooks’ eyes just moments ago before you said what you said there. This could have a little rippling effect through sports.”
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) June 22, 2023
This chain of events certainly calls into question Charania’s ties to the gambling industry. If he wasn’t partnered with FanDuel, his tweets would likely still affect the betting markets, but the relationship in question certainly raises the hair on the back of your neck. Times are changing, but having a reporter with gambling ties certainly is a new paradigm for the sports media.
FanDuel can pretend not to see Charania’s tweets, and putting out a statement saying as much is their prerogative. At the same time, a sportsbook saying that they aren’t aware of what’s going on in sports, especially when someone they employ is reporting that information, is a hard to believe statement.