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LaVar Ball Didn't Give LiAngelo a Voice ... Says Rockets Player

12/5/2017 12:24 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

No matter how you feel about LiAngelo Ball ditching UCLA, leave 'Gelo out of it ... 'cause LaVar Ball didn't let his son call his own shot -- so says Rockets PG Briante Weber.

"Daddy rules, so he probably had no say-so," Briante told TMZ Sports outside Poppy in L.A. "He's really just following what his pops said."

Maybe, maybe not. In an interview on Tuesday, LaVar essentially said he made the decision for LiAngelo ... but added that they were "on the same page."

Briante obviously thinks LaVar's pulling all the strings ... just like he's been doing with Lonzo Ball -- which Weber says has doomed 'Zo to a career of NBA beatdowns.  

Kenny Smith Texans Owner's Comments Could Screw Team In Free Agency

11/5/2017 12:10 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Bob McNair's "inmates" comments could serve as free agent repellent ... scaring off top NFL players who simply don't want to play for the Houston Texans owner ... so says Kenny Smith.

The former Rockets star is a legend in Houston and says McNair's comments at a recent NFL owner's meeting -- where he said, "Can't have the inmates running the prison" -- didn't fall on deaf ears. 

"It will be difficult to attract great free agents," Smith says ... noting that McNair has to "really make a big stance" to prove he's not the racially insensitive jerk some of his own players think he is. 

Remember, DeAndre Hopkins was so pissed at McNair he walked out of Texans practice -- so, who's gonna willingly join a team with so much internal drama? 

The good news ... players LOVE Deshaun Watson -- and Kenny predicts big things for the young QB once he recovers from his torn ACL

Houston Rockets Buyer My Casino's Pitching In ... to Help Vegas Victims

10/2/2017 10:59 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Tilman Fertitta -- the man who just bought the Houston Rockets -- is working with the Vegas casino he owns to help victims and first responders affected by the mass shooting, TMZ Sports has learned. 

Fertitta owns the Golden Nugget -- and we're told he's personally been on the phone with hotel management to help strategize how they can best use their resources to help out. 

We're told the Nugget has already reached out to MGM Resorts to help house families of people killed or injured in the shootings. With more than 500 people injured, lodging could be an issue and Fertitta wants to make sure the families are taken care of. 

The Nugget says staff is also offering meals to first responders and participating in blood drives -- while working on a coordinated long-term plan. 

Tilman Fertitta Pumped About Buying Rockets ... Praises Beyonce

9/5/2017 11:29 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Tilman Fertitta tells TMZ Sports he's absolutely STOKED about buying the Houston Rockets -- explaining it's been a lifelong dream ... and he wants to bring Beyonce into the fold. 

We spoke with the "Billion Dollar Buyer" star moments after it was announced he bought the NBA team for $2.2 BILLION ... and he told us he'll work his ass off to make Houston proud. 

As far as Beyonce -- who was in the running to buy the team -- Tilman praises her as a wonderful ambassador for Houston and hopes she'll join his team "in some capacity."

"It would be great to have her involved in any way."

FYI, Fertitta has made a fortune in the restaurant business -- he owns Catch, Mastro's, Bubba Gump and the Rainforest Cafe spots -- and says he can't wait to come to L.A. to beat the Lakers and the Clippers. 

We also asked who pays for dinner when he gets together with his billionaire cousins Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta (who made a fortune selling the UFC) ... and he had a great answer for that, too! 

Chris Paul Donates $75,000 to Hurricane Harvey Relief

8/28/2017 4:10 PM PDT
Breaking News

Chris Paul is putting his money where his mouth is -- writing $75,000 in checks to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey. 

The NBA star -- who was just traded to the Houston Rockets -- heeded charity calls from both J.J. Watt and Kevin Hart

Watt confirmed CP3 donated $50k to the Houston Flood Relief Fund -- putting the NFL star over his initial fundraising goal of $500,000. 

Kevin Hart had also challenged celebs to donate to the American Red Cross -- and Paul stepped up with a $25,000 donation. 

Together, J.J. and Kev have raised more than $850k toward flood relief. 

Good work, fellas. 

Tina Knowles Beyonce Would Be the Perfect Rockets Owner!

8/16/2017 6:31 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Beyonce's mom tells TMZ Sports it would be "really great" if her daughter became the next owner of the Houston Rockets -- saying she's got the Houston connection that fans would love! 

After current Rockets owner Leslie Alexander announced he was selling the team last month, Beyonce's name showed up in reports as a very interested buyer. 

So, when we saw Tina Knowles leaving Mastro's Steakhouse in Bev Hills on Tuesday, we had to ask ... what's up?!

Tina wasn't spilling the tea on B's business plans -- but did explain why she thinks the Rockets would be the perfect fit for her daughter. 

But if it happens, will mom attend every game? Don't plan on it ... 

Kevin Hart C'MON, CHRIS PAUL ... Don't Leave L.A.

8/1/2017 6:03 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

File Under: "Too Little, Too Late"

Kevin Hart wants his good friend, Chris Paul, to stay in Los Angeles so badly, he's using his own money to convince him to back out of the Rockets deal.

Didn't work though.

Kev and CP3 hit up Madeo for dinner -- and on the way out, Hart whipped out his wallet to pay for Paul's valet ... telling his pal, "Don't leave L.A., Chris!"

Chris smiled and told Kev, "Don't do that."

Obviously, that ship has sailed -- Chris signed with the Houston Rockets after 6 seasons with the Clippers.

But free valet is free valet!

Chris Paul & James Harden 1st Hoop Sesh as Rockets Teammates ... Warriors, Be Warned

7/26/2017 7:02 AM PDT

Close your eyes, Clippers fans ... here's the first footage of James Harden & Chris Paul hooping together since CP3 joined the Rockets, and the guys look pretty freakin' good together.

The game went down in L.A., and Paul and Harden weren't the only NBA guys playing -- they were joined by Rockets teammate Trevor Ariza and NBA champion JaVale McGee.

It's a pretty sick video uploaded by YouBall Training honchos Thomas Scott and Anthony Davis (not that one).

Ready to call 'em a superteam yet?

Klay Thompson's Dad Carmelo On The Rockets? 'Serious Threat To Warriors'

7/14/2017 6:46 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Klay Thompson's dad, Mychal, says the Warriors better hope the Carmelo Anthony trade is dead, 'cause if the Rockets get Melo, they'll be a legit threat to dethrone his son's team.

Houston's already stacked with James Harden and CP3 ... so we asked Thompson -- a former NBA stud himself -- if acquiring Melo would make the Rockets the best team in the league.

"You add Carmelo Anthony to Chris Paul and James Harden, you gotta take them serious."

But is it enough to topple KD, Steph, Klay and Draymond?

We also talked to Mychal about Klay's epic dance moves in China ... guess where KK got those moves.

Ted Cruz Harden's Worth $228M If We Get a Ring!

7/9/2017 12:49 PM PDT

Ted Cruz thinks James Harden deserves every nickel of his historic $228 million contract extension with the Houston Rockets ... just as long as it pays off on the court.

The Texas senator was in D.C. Sunday morning where he was asked what he thought of Harden landing the record NBA deal. He gives a bit of a stump speech answer at first -- saying Harden and CP3 should give Golden State a run for their money.

But when pressed about the dollars and cents of the 4-year contract, Cruz keeps it real ... championship or bust for that kind of money.

Austin Rivers on CP3: 'Expect Fireworks' ... When Clips Play Rockets

7/7/2017 7:16 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

"Business and basketball are two different things. They say don't take it personal, but everybody does." -- Austin Rivers on Chris Paul.

The Clippers star was at LAX when it kept it 100 about the situation involving his former teammate -- telling TMZ Sports he's happy for the guy, but it's gonna get intense when they face the Houston Rockets next season.

"You saw what happened when the Warriors played the Thunder this year. There was a lot of emotion in there."

"I don't think it'll be quite like that but it'll definitely be a lot of fireworks that game if I had to take a guess."

The NBA is expected to release the official schedule sometime next month. Can't wait!

Kenny Smith Harden's Still #1 In Houston ... Not CP3

6/28/2017 4:50 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

1 second left on the clock, who gets the final shot in Houston ... Chris Paul or James Harden???

It's a no-brainer according to Kenny "The Jet" Smith who tells TMZ Sports ... CP3 should probably get used to the sidekick role. 

Smith says CP3 will undoubtedly elevate the Rockets to a new level -- but Harden is the "best scorer in the league" ... and thus, The Man. 

Smith also explains why you just can't call Houston a Super Team -- and least not yet. 

James Harden Parties After Playoff Loss ... Fans Chant, 'MVP'

5/12/2017 7:10 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

James Harden wasn't in the mood to mope after his Rockets got beat up by the Spurs Thursday night -- he partied ALL NIGHT LONG while fans in Houston chanted at him, "MVP!"

TMZ Sports obtained footage of Harden at Set in Houston where he turned up in the VIP section while Travis Scott performed. 

Kylie Jenner was in the building along with some Houston Texans players. 

Harden and the Rockets had a rough night before the club -- losing to the Spurs in a 114-75 route that eliminated them from the playoffs. Harden only scored 10 points. 

Multiple witnesses say Harden went to Dreams strip club later on in the night -- and why not? It's not like he has to work today. 

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