Report: NBA ref at center of scandal expected to cooperate with probe

Authorities believe former NBA referee Tim Donaghy will cooperate with their investigation that he made calls to affect the point spread in games on which he or associates had wagered, The New York Daily News reported Sunday, citing anonymous sources.

Two of the bookies Donaghy allegedly used to place bets are expected to be arrested after he surrenders as early as Tuesday, the newspaper reported.

Authorities do not know if the gambling scandal extends beyond Donaghy.

The Daily News, citing sources, reported that Donaghy's name was first heard on a wiretap during probes of the Gambino crime family over the past year. The newspaper reported that Donaghy was threatened into cooperating with the bookies, who allegedly won thousands of dollars with Donaghy's help.

A law enforcement official told The Associated Press that the bets were made on games during the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007

Commissioner David Stern said the league is cooperating with federal authorities in their investigation

"As we previously stated, we have been cooperating with the FBI in their investigation of allegations that a single NBA referee bet on NBA games that he officiated. As part of that cooperation, we were asked by the government not to comment about the investigation, but in light of the widespread press coverage and the naming of the referee, Tim Donaghy, we consider it appropriate to make a fuller statement," Stern said in a statement.

"We would like to assure our fans that no amount of effort, time or personnel is being spared to assist in this investigation, to bring to justice an individual who has betrayed the most sacred trust in professional sports, and to take the necessary steps to protect against this ever happening again. We will have more to say at a press conference that will be scheduled for next week."

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Donaghy officiated 68 games in the 2005-06 season and 63 games in 2006-07. He also worked 20 playoff games, including five last season -- Pistons-Magic on April 23; Warriors-Mavs on April 27; Suns-Lakers on April 29; Nets-Raptors on May 4; and Spurs-Suns on May 12.

Those studying Donaghy's games might have noticed some trends.

When the home team was favored by 0-4½ points, it went 5-12 in games officiated by Donaghy this season, according to Covers.com, a Web site that tracks referee trends. Home underdogs were 1-7 when the spread was 5-9.5 points.

Donaghy was part of a crew working the Heat-Knicks game in New York in February when the Knicks shot 39 free throws to the Heat's eight, technical fouls were called on Heat coach Pat Riley and assistant Ron Rothstein, and the Knicks won by six. New York was favored by 4½.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.