Former referee Tim Donaghy, who served 15 months in prison for fixing NBA games, says the NBA is pressuring officials to side with the Nets in their series against the Raptors.
"(The Raptors) are not only going against the Brooklyn Nets but going against the league office," Donaghy said in a radio interview in Canada. "They have a very talented team and have to be that much better than the Brooklyn Nets."
Why would the NBA want the Nets to advance? Donaghy says it’s all about television ratings.
"In this situation, Brooklyn would be put at an advantage. A Brooklyn-Miami matchup (in Round 2) would bring great ratings and that’s what this is all about for the NBA and the league offices — bringing in as many dollars as they can. … Some of the things that the league does and continues to do puts these teams at a disadvantage — like the Toronto Raptors — because moving forward they won’t bring in the big dollars for the league. It’s terrible for the fans (of) Toronto. They go and support that team but really they’re going to have trouble moving on based on talent and what takes place on the floor when they’re really going against the refs and the league, along with the Nets."
The league reacted to Donaghy’s claims.
"Tim Donaghy is a convicted felon looking for any opportunity for people to listen to his baseless allegations," an NBA spokesman said in a statement. "For Mr. Donaghy to continually try to challenge his former colleagues’ ethics is distasteful and says more about his own integrity than it could ever say about our referees, who are the best and most scrutinized game officials in the world."