Matt Barnes Lakers Could Win Another Title ... With Kyrie Irving

KYRIE'S THE KEY
TMZSports.com

LeBron James and Kyrie Irving won a ring together before, and it may not have been their last ... 'cause Matt Barnes tells TMZ Sports the Lakers could be smelling champagne if Kyrie Irving joins L.A.

Matt -- who played for the Purple and Gold for two seasons -- spoke about the recent Irving rumors out at LAX this week ... and he told us if Uncle Drew ends up with the Lakers, it could result in the franchise's 18th championship.

Barnes thinks Irving -- who is rumored to be at a standstill in contract negotiations with the Nets -- would be the perfect fit for the Lake Show ... which would set him up with his old teammate in Cleveland.

"I think what they have right now," Barnes said, "if they can learn to co-exist with the group they have now, they're really close."

Barnes told us the biggest key for Irving -- who missed a ton of games over the years for a bevy of reasons -- succeeding or failing in L.A. is his level of commitment to playing.

Of course, the Lakers still have Anthony Davis, who (when healthy) is still considered a top 10 player in the league ... but Barnes thinks Kyrie is the missing piece Bron and AD need to win another ring.

"Kyrie is probably a top 5 talent in the world, but you never know what you're going to get. So, if Kyrie is committed to playing whether he plays in Brooklyn or the Lakers, he definitely makes them a title contender."

Shaq DJs In Buffalo ... Donates $50K From Appearance To Shooting Victims

Shaq's generosity knows no limits -- the NBA legend is donating the $50,000 he was set to make from a DJ'ing gig in Buffalo to the family of one of the shooting victims.

"DJ Diesel" has been making his rounds on tour ... and was naturally reticent about continuing on with his scheduled show in Buffalo in the aftermath of the mass shooting that took place last month, sources tell TMZ Sports.

DJ'ING FOR A CAUSE

But, the Hall of Famer and 4X-NBA champ decided to still do the show ... knowing how much the event meant to those who attended.

Before Shaq got busy on the ones-and-twos ... he met with the widow and son of Aaron Salter Jr., the retired police officer who was shot and killed while heroically trying to stop the gunman inside Tops supermarket in Buffalo from killing more innocent people.

We're told ... not only did The Big Aristotle have some one-on-one time with members of the Salter family, but he also agreed to give the money he was going to make to them in wake of the heinous tragedy.

The lives of many in the Buffalo community were altered and affected ... when an armed gunman senselessly executed at least 10 people in a vile hate crime.

We've seen countless people step up -- like the Buffalo Bills org. led by star quarterback Josh Allen -- in the city's time of need ... and Shaq, who's no stranger to charitable deeds, is the latest example.

Back in December, O'Neal raised $2 million in charity for his "Shaquille O'Neal Foundation" -- which provides resources and opportunities to the youth in this country without access to either -- by selling unique NFTs of himself.

Way to go, Shaq!!

Megan Rapinoe Emotional Over Roe V. Wade Reversal It's Dangerous For Women!!!

THIS AFFECTS US ALL
UPDATE

1:55 PM PT -- Soccer legend Megan Rapinoe gave a powerful speech about the reversal while meeting with media before the USWNT's match against Colombia ... saying the decision will NOT stop women from having abortions -- it just diminishes their chances at a safe procedure.

UPDATE

"It will completely exacerbate so many of the existing inequalities that we have in our country," Rapinoe said. "It doesn't keep not one single person safer. It doesn't keep not one single child safer, certainly, and it does not keep one single inclusive term, woman safer."

UPDATE

"We know that this will disproportionality affect poor women, black women, brown women, immigrants, women in abusive relationships, women who have been raped," Rapinoe added.

UPDATE

"I would encourage people to understand all of the different aspects that overturning Roe v. Wade will have on so many -- actually, on everyone in the entire country."

UPDATE

The whole video is moving ... check it out.

NBA Hall of Famer Ray Allen says the United States just lost decades of progress in women's rights ... going scorched earth on the Supreme Court for overturning Roe v. Wade on Friday.

The sharp-shooter echoed the statement former First Lady Michelle Obama released shortly after the decision was announced ... saying he, too, is heartbroken over the reversal.

"I just don't understand why a group of people will say that they don't want bigger government, but then want a law passed that gives the government the ability to tell a woman what she can do with her own body," Allen said minutes ago.

"That very same group fought against healthcare for everyone. So, you care about the fetus in the womb but once it's born-no f***s are given!🖕🏾"

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SUPREME PROTESTS
TMZ.com

"We have now crossed a threshold in this country where guns are more protected than a woman’s rights are. 😥😤."

Allen's comment comes on the heels of two mass shootings -- in Buffalo and Uvalde -- which have led to many throughout the country calling for stricter gun laws.

Allen says the solution is easy -- if you want to get an abortion, get one ... and if you're against it, don't get one.

Instead, the 46-year-old says the country is moving backward ... and the fight for women's rights must go on.

Originally Published -- 12:00 PM PT

Delonte West Lands Flooring Gig After Panhandling In Streets

Delonte West said he was looking for a job -- and he found one.

The ex-NBA star landed a flooring gig this week ... after some amazing people heard about his tough situation and decided to help out.

FEELING THANKFUL
The Image Direct

As we previously reported, West -- who has battled mental health and addiction issues -- has been working hard at building a better life for himself ... but said earlier this week he was in between jobs.

We're told the team at the Beyer Subaru car dealership in Alexandria, Virginia saw the stories about West and noticed he had been asking for money nearby ... so they put their heads together to figure out a way to help him earn some dough.

As it turns out, the dealership is currently getting some floor work done ... so they asked the company in charge of the project if West could lend a hand.

We're told the flooring company was thrilled to have the extra help ... and West has been working with them for the past two days -- and doing a great job!!

We're told West has been nothing but polite with the whole crew ... sharing stories and talking with everyone throughout the day.

Awesome stuff ... and keep it up, Delonte.

Vince Carter's Wife Terrified During Burglary At NBA Star's Home ... 911 Audio Reveals

911 AUDIO

Vince Carter's wife -- while hiding inside of her son's bedroom closet -- mortifyingly spoke with dispatchers as burglars ransacked the NBA legend's home earlier this month, new 911 audio, obtained by TMZ Sports, reveals.

The call is terrifying ... you can hear Sondi Carter pleading on the phone with cops to hurry to her place in Atlanta as she said people had broken in and were stealing things inside of it at around 11:50 PM on June 19.

"Oh, my God," she said on the call. "Oh, my God. Please, Lord, help me. Please, God, help me."

"Don't make a sound!" she added, appearing to speak to her children that were with her inside of the closet. "Don't make a sound!"

The call lasted roughly 10 minutes ... and throughout it, you can hear Sondi was understandably panicked and scared.

"Please, hurry up!" she told dispatch, whispering. "Please, hurry up! Please, hurry up!"

Eventually, cops made their way to the scene ... and while they said in police documents the suspects fled in an SUV before they could be apprehended, no one was injured.

Officers say Vince told them he believed close to $100,000 had been taken during the incident. No arrests have been made, cops say. An investigation is still ongoing.

Carter -- who played for the Atlanta Hawks in the last two seasons of his historic career -- had previously bought the Atlanta home back in 2020. He's yet to publicly comment on the burglary.

USC Recruit Aaliyah Gayles Takes First Steps Out Of Wheelchair ... 2 Months After Shooting

ROAD TO RECOVERY

Some more positive news from hoops star Aaliyah Gayles ... the USC recruit is starting to walk again just two months after being shot 10 times at a house party.

The 18-year-old guard shared the amazing feat on Thursday via Instagram -- showing a video of her getting out of her wheelchair and taking a few steps.

"They told me I couldn't do it," Gayles said in the caption. "I told them watch me do it."

"I got the whole world watching. I gotta prove it."

The progress is both inspiring and exciting for the 5-star basketball recruit who was shot in both arms and legs during a house party in Las Vegas on April 16.

Over the last few weeks, Gayles has hit a few monuments during her road to recovery ... the #8 overall girls basketball player in ESPN's 2022 class also graduated from Spring Valley High School earlier this month.

DIPLOMA IN HAND
Spring Valley High School

Her father, Dwight, tells us he's as confident as ever that Aaliyah -- who is still committed to playing basketball for the USC Trojans -- will make a full recovery.

"She's going to be just fine," he said, "this kid is built different."

As for the investigation into the shooting, police tell us this there are still no updates on the case at this time.

Shaq & Scottie Pippen Lakers Sign NBA Legends' Sons After Draft ... Shareef And Scotty Jr.!!!

The L.A. Lakers' summer roster just got a whole lot more interesting ... because after the NBA Draft this week, the team signed Shaq and Scottie Pippen's sons to deals!!

Both Shareef O'Neal and Scotty Pippen Jr. inked agreements with the Purple and Gold on Thursday night ... after going undrafted in the NBA's annual two-round selection event.

According to reports, O'Neal signed on to play for the Lakers on their NBA Summer League squad. Pippen Jr., meanwhile, signed a two-way deal, meaning he'll also play on the summer roster with O'Neal, but will then have a good shot of getting on the actual regular-season squad.

PIPPIN POPPIN' BOTTLES

The sons of both NBA legends were fired up over the contracts ... O'Neal posted a video of him as a baby in a Lakers jersey on his social media page to celebrate, while Pippen Jr. popped a bottle of champagne and then had a long hug with his family and famous Dad.

While the two aren't as gifted as their fathers (who the hell is?!?) ... both bring a ton to the Lakers' table. Shareef -- who played his college ball at both UCLA and LSU -- is a 6-foot-10, 225-pound big man who can stretch the floor.

Pippen Jr. -- a star at Vanderbilt the past three years -- is a 6-foot-3 guard who averaged 20.4 points per game in his final collegiate season.

Summer league officially kicks off in about two weeks ... talk about must-see TV now.

2022 NBA Draft Paolo Banchero Picked #1 Overall ... Orlando's New Star!!!

The speculation and suspense have finally come to an end ... the Orlando Magic have selected Duke superstar Paolo Banchero with the #1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.

Commissioner Adam Silver just announced the choice ... revealing the team took Paolo over Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren and Auburn star Jabari Smith.

The 19-year-old former Blue Devil -- who scored 17.2 points per game as a freshman on Duke's men's basketball team this past season -- will be suiting up for an Orlando team that desperately needs him to succeed.

The Magic finished with a 22-60 record last season and didn't have a single All-Star on its roster.

Banchero could very well change that, because, in addition to his prolific scoring, he added 7.8 rebounds per contest and shot 47.8% percent from the field in 2021-22.

Rejoice, Orlando. Rejoice!

Vince Carter Home Burglarized While Family Inside ... Nearly $100K Stolen

Ex-NBA star Vince Carter had a horrifying Father's Day ... 'cause police say his home was burglarized while his wife and two kids were inside of it -- and nearly $100K was taken in the incident.

According to an Atlanta Police Dept. incident report, obtained by TMZ Sports, suspects broke into Carter's Atlanta home at around 11:50 PM on June 19 ... while the Toronto Raptors legend's wife, Sondi, and her two sons were lying in bed.

According to the report, Sondi said she was frightened by loud noises that had come from the front of her home ... so she took her two boys, hid in a bedroom closet, and dialed 911.

Cops say Sondi told them she had heard suspects rummaging through their belongings in different rooms.

According to the report, an off-duty Atlanta cop arrived at Carter's home first and saw a man wearing a mask and all-black clothing fleeing the property, before eventually getting into an SUV and taking off.

Officers say they arrived a short time later and saw the front window of the home was completely broken. They also said they found $16,100 in $100 bills scattered outside the gated home.

According to the docs, officers said they spoke with Carter on the phone and he said the cash was from a brown bag he had in his closet. He said the $16K was only a small portion of the $100K that was inside of it.

Cops say they also recovered two guns outside the home -- a Desert Eagle that they say belonged to Carter, and a Glock 26 with an extended clip that they suspect belonged to the alleged thief.

Thankfully, cops say no one was injured in the incident. An investigation is ongoing.

Carter -- an 8-time All-Star -- played for several teams during his 22-year NBA career -- including the Atlanta Hawks. He bought his Atlanta home in August 2020.

Steph Curry Hits NorCal Theme Park With Family Title Celebration Continues

CURRY'S COASTIN'
TMZSports.com

Steph Curry's NBA championship celebration is STILL going on ... the 2x-MVP took a trip to a theme park in Northern California with his family on Wednesday to keep the good times rollin'!

TMZ Sports has obtained pics and videos of the four-time champion hitting up "Great America" in Santa Clara ... just two days after the 34-year-old was seen partying his ass off at the Warriors' championship parade on Monday.

Witnesses tell us ... Curry -- flanked by his three kids, Riley, Ryan, and Canon -- was all smiles throughout the day. Ayesha, we're told, didn't make the trip.

Of course, the greatest shooter in NBA history got on a bunch of rides with the crew ... and was seen enjoying himself on a kids roller coaster called "Lucy's Crabbie Cabbies."

Most championship winners tend to hit Disneyland following their big games ... but seems the Golden State superstar chose to keep the theme park celly local this time around.

And, can you blame him? A lengthy drive to Anaheim doesn't sound ideal after going non-stop since winning in Boston last Thursday!

Lakers Legends Amazingly Painted On Outdoor L.A. Court ... Kobe, Shaq & More!!!

HISTORY OF THE DYNASTY
William Ortwin

This is awesome ... an outdoor basketball court in Los Angeles got a complete makeover this week -- with images of Kobe Bryant, Shaq, Magic Johnson, and other Lakers legends being painted all over it.

The artist behind the work, Gustavo Zermeno Jr., tells TMZ Sports he initially linked up with Veniceball and Project Backboard to repaint the court at Southside Christian Church in Inglewood to try to give it some TLC.

The Lakers theme was Zermeno Jr.'s idea ... saying he's been wanting to do this for years and "the pastor of the church is a huge Laker fan so it worked out perfectly."

Zermeno -- who's been painting professionally since 2016 -- tells us the focal point was Kobe (his favorite Laker) and other players who had their jerseys retired.

He also wanted to pay homage to Pau Gasol ... saying he "deserves to be up there with them."

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And, after working alongside his friend Nick Flax for 2 weeks (10 hours per day using $3,000 worth of paint), he delivered a masterpiece.

Besides Bryant and Gasol, the court features Shaq, Magic, James Worthy, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elgin Baylor, Chick Hearn, Jerry West, and Jerry Buss in front of the downtown L.A. skyline and Staples Center.

"It means the world really," Zermeno said of the piece. "It's also right next door to the new Clippers arena so it also shows this is still a Lakers town haha."

The unveiling marks the start of Zermeno's upcoming nonprofit organization called "Heart In The Paint" which will focus on the betterment of young lives through sports, art, and education.

Good stuff!

Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin Selling Ownership Stake ... In 76ers & NJ Devils

Michael Rubin -- the billionaire minority owner of the Philadelphia 76ers -- is selling his stake in the Harris Blitzer Sports Entertainment company which owns the Sixers and the New Jersey Devils.

Rubin, 49, shared the news this week during an interview with FOX Sports ... saying he decided to unload the teams after 11 years of ownership because of a conflict of interest.

The conflict? Michael's the CEO of Fanatics, and the company is getting involved in the incredibly lucrative sports gambling industry. Doing that while owning a team is a no-no -- thus the sale of his 10% stake.

HBSE exec Josh Harris said that Rubin's decision doesn't come as a surprise ... and that he was "grateful" for his years of partnership.

"Michael will always be a member of our HBSE and Sixers family, continue to be a presence courtside and a key partner in our collective commitment to be a force for good in Philadelphia," Harris said.

David Blitzer, co-founding and co-managing partner, called Rubin a "visionary" and "innovator" who "played an integral role in helping us grow and position HBSE for future success."

"As he prepares for this new chapter in his career, I'm excited to watch Michael further revolutionize the Fanatics business, unlocking its full potential by connecting sports fans from around the world through a multitude of new platforms and verticals," Blitzer said.

Delonte West Says He's Okay After Panhandling Video ... 'I'm In Between Jobs'

FEELING THANKFUL
The Image Direct

Delonte West says there's nothing to worry about after video of him panhandling in the streets went viral last week ... insisting he's doing okay, and is actively looking for a job.

Remember, we broke the news in February that the former NBA guard -- who's publicly battled mental health and addiction issues -- was back on the right track, training to make the Big 3.

But, last week, a fan shared video on social media showing West, looking disheveled, panhandling in the streets of Virginia ... and it caught many off guard.

So, when Image Direct caught up with the 38-year-old this week, they asked Delonte if he was doing okay, and why he was on the streets asking for money.

"It is what it is," West said.

"I got children. I'm in between jobs. People can help me as much as they can, but you know, as a man I gotta do what I gotta do for my babies."

STILL GOT IT
@thebig3/Twitter

As for the Big 3, West says there were so many talented players there he understands why he didn't make the cut ... but he's thankful for the chance.

"I was excited to have the opportunity," West said, "I'll be there next season. I'll be there rooting guys on."

Despite a bunch of tough breaks, the 8-year NBA vet seemingly isn't letting some difficult times discourage him ... saying he'll keep working hard and hopes to be a part of an NBA coaching staff soon.

"I'm always involved in the game I love. Last year, I was scouting for the Dallas Mavericks and the previous three years, I was an NBA scout for the Boston Celtics."

3/21/22
BACK IN ACTION
YouTube/DONOVAN THE ENTERTAINER

West added, "I was actually looking forward to being a head coach or assistant coach in the NBA this season but like I said, it's a business that have a lot of people involved and wanna stay involved."

"Prayerfully, luckily I'll be up for discussion this upcoming season."

We're rooting for you, Delonte!

Steph Curry Chugs Pricey Booze ... At Wild Post-Parade Party

The party in the Bay Area clearly didn't stop when the Warriors' parade ended Monday afternoon ... cause Steph Curry hit up a club afterward -- and SLUGGED tequila straight from the bottle!!

The NBA Finals MVP was caught on video downing Clase Azul -- some very pricey booze -- in the hours after Golden State's championship celebration ... and he looked like he was having the time of his life.

Curry chugged for roughly 10 seconds ... and like a true champ, he barely made a face afterward.

The moment was just one of many memorable ones for Curry on Monday -- who, while celebrating his fourth title since 2015, even got a sexy dance sesh in with his wife, Ayesha.

Curry was also spotted holding a bottle of Don Julio 1942 at the after-party -- and check out that footage ... it's clear dude had quite a day!

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Here's to hoping that Tuesday hangover wasn't too bad!

Kevin Durant To Charles Barkley Claps Back After 'Bus' Criticism ... 'Hatin' Old Head!!'

Kevin Durant's fed up with Charles Barkley's criticism ... calling the NBA legend "a hatin' old head" after Chuck questioned KD's legacy, comments the NBA superstar believed were "nasty."

The latest iteration of their beef started when KD and the Brooklyn Nets were swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs back in April.

Chuck ripped Durant for failing to lead the Nets to playoff success ... and said despite KD winning 2 NBA titles with Steph Curry and the Warriors, he questioned whether KD was truly a champ because he wasn't the leader in Golden State (according to Barkley).

"If you ain't driving the bus, don't walk around talking about you a champion," Charles said.

To add more fuel to the fire, the Celtics -- the same team that swept the Nets -- lost to the Golden State Warriors ... Durant's former squad.

Of course, Barkley took more shots at KD 'cause of that, saying on ESPN ... "Before KD gets that great respect from all the old heads, he's going to have to win a championship as the guy, as the bus driver."

"Listen, he joined that team that had already won a championship so no disrespect, that's just a fact."

Durant responded on Monday via Twitter ... "All this s*** is nasty."

"Another terrible analogy from a hatin' old head that can't accept that we making more bread than them. It's just timing Chucky, don't hate the playa."

The Nets have a bunch to figure out this off-season. There's reportedly been no progress with Kyrie Irving's contract, and Ben Simmons -- who had back surgery in May -- his status is unknown.

Caleb Swanigan Dead At 25 ... Ex-Purdue Star, Former NBA 1st-Round Pick

Tragic news ... Caleb Swanigan -- the former Purdue star who was later picked in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft -- has died at 25 years old.

A spokesperson for the Allen County Coroner’s Office in Indiana tells TMZ Sports ... the ex-Boilermaker center died of natural causes.

In a statement released Tuesday morning, the Purdue men's basketball team said Swanigan passed on Monday night.

"Devastated," the school's team's account wrote in a tweet. "Our thoughts and prayers to Caleb Swanigan’s family and friends. The world lost a gentle soul last night. Love you Biggie."

Purdue head coach Matt Painter added in a statement, "Biggie had a positive influence in everyone's life. Was such a thoughtful person and gentle soul who had to overcome so much in his life. He will be greatly missed."

Before starring at Purdue, Swanigan compiled one of the greatest high school basketball careers ever in the history of the state of Indiana.

The 6-foot-9, 260-pound hooper was a five-star recruit, who earned McDonald's All-American honors after averaging 22.6 points and 13.7 rebounds per game in his senior season.

During his two years with the Boilermakers, Swanigan averaged 14.4 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. He was eventually taken by the Portland Trailblazers with the 26th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.

Swanigan played in the NBA with the Trailblazers and the Sacramento Kings until 2020.

Damian Lillard, who played with Swanigan in Portland, paid homage to Swanigan in an Instagram post Tuesday ... writing, "Rest In Peace Big."

The Trailblazers added in a statement, "We are heartbroken by the passing of former Trail Blazers player Caleb Swanigan. Our thoughts and prayers are with Caleb’s family, friends and all who loved him. Rest In Peace, Biggie."

Off the court, Swanigan had a music career -- rapping under the name "Slyy5jackk." He released several songs including "Thoughts/THOTS" and "My Life" in 2021.

Swanigan had just put out a music video called "Acquired Taste" in April ... and according to the rapper's IG, a new project was coming soon.

#RIP

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