Kyrie Irving Night Out With New Nets Teammates ... at L.A. Restaurant

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NETS BE FRIENDS
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Kyrie Irving is getting a head start on building chemistry with his new teammates ... having a night out in L.A. with Caris LeVert and Taurean Prince ... and TMZ Sports has the vid!!!

The Brooklyn Nets trio hit up Wolfgang Puck's restaurant, Spago, in Beverly Hills on Monday night ... and everyone appeared to be in great spirits.

It should be encouraging to BK fans to see the NBA superstar hanging with his new guys, considering there were reports he wasn't getting along with his teammates in Boston ... and of course, there was a MAJOR falling out in Cleveland.

No word on who paid the bill at dinner ... but KI has a new 4-year, $141 million deal he can put to good use!!!

Kevin Durant 'Hell No' to Blaming Warriors ... For NBA Finals Injury

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Kevin Durant wants to make it crystal clear his old team deserves ZERO blame for his NBA Finals injury ... saying the Warriors didn't mishandle his calf injury and no one forced him to play.

KD is finally addressing the ruptured Achilles he suffered during game 5 against the Toronto Raptors ... saying Golden State didn't pressure him to come back early from a calf strain he sustained earlier in the playoffs.

“Hell, no. How can you blame [the Warriors]? Hell, no,” Durant told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

"Nobody never said a word to me during rehab as I was coming back ... Right when the series started, I targeted Game 5."

"Hell, nah. It just happened. It’s basketball. Sh*t happens. Nobody was responsible for it. It was just the game. We just need to move on from that sh*t because I’m going to be back playing.”

There ya go, critics ... straight from KD's mouth.

Durant also addressed the claims that Raps fans were applauding his injury ... saying he was in a daze and didn't hear anything, but added, "It will probably be the last time they will be in the Finals."

Of course ... the 30-year-old is slowly recovering from the injury ... and TMZ Sports even spotted him walking without crutches last week.

STROLLIN' THROUGH L.A.
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As for his decision to leave the Dubs for Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets ... KD's reason is very simple.

“Because I wanted to. The basketball was appealing.”

Kevin Durant Pimp Walking In L.A. No Crutches? No Problem!

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STROLLIN' THROUGH L.A.
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Kevin Durant seems to be making great progress -- because the NBA superstar was out in Los Angeles on Wednesday ... cruisin' around the restaurant scene WITHOUT crutches!

Remember, Durant tore his right Achilles on June 10 during Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals ... but the recovery is expected to be so tough, he could miss the entire 2019-20 season.

Which is why we were so impressed when we saw KD walking out of Catch restaurant in L.A. -- sure, there was a little hitch in his giddy up ... but overall, he was moving pretty well.

Durant didn't have much to say when we asked him about his comeback, but his legs did all the talking for him.

Of course, the last time we saw Durant ... he was leaving an office building in NYC with his leg bandaged and a medical scooter in tow.

JUNE 2019
FULLY BOOTED
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Despite the injury, 30-year-old Durant signed a MASSIVE new contract with the Brooklyn Nets ... 4 years, $164 million.

If he does make it back for next season, Durant will join Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan on a Brooklyn team that could be VERY dangerous.

So, if you're a Brooklyn fan ... you probably like this new video.

Irv Gotti On NY Knicks ... 'F*ck James Dolan'

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NOT COOL, MAN
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Rap mogul Irv Gotti is a hardcore New York Knicks fan -- and he didn't hold back when we asked how he felt about the Knicks striking out in free agency ... 

"Man, F*ck Dolan!"

Yeah, he ain't happy. 

Gotti -- along with a bunch of other Knicks fans -- are furious with owner James Dolan for not signing any of the marquee free agents up for grabs over the past few days. 

He's especially upset about Kevin Durant -- who not only didn't sign with the Knicks, but inked a deal just down the way with the Brooklyn Nets. 

Ditto for Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan

"Yay for the Nets," Gotti told TMZ Sports sarcastically the other day ... "I feel like Stephen A. Smith. I'm disgusted."

Dolan has been having a rough 2019 -- back in March, he took a lot of heat after he was caught on video ejecting a Knicks fan from Madison Square Garden after the fan heckled Dolan to sell the team. 

MARCH 2019
GET OUTTA HERE, WISE GUY
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The Knicks took R.J. Barrett in the 1st round of the NBA Draft -- and a lot of people are hopeful he can turn the franchise around ... but Gotti doesn't seem convinced yet. 

Kevin Durant Leaving Golden State ... To Sign with the Nets & Kyrie!!!

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Kevin Durant has had it with the Golden State Warriors ... 'cause he says he's taking his talents across the country to the Brooklyn Nets to play alongside Kyrie Irving.

KD just made the announcement Sunday evening via "The Boardroom" Instagram page -- the sports show he created, which is similar to LeBron's "The Shop." Speaking of Bron, Kevin's roll-out of his "decision" is very reminiscent of LBJ's take in 2010.

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According to reports, Kevin is signing a 4-year, $164 million deal with the Nets, while Kyrie's going for 4 years at $141 million. DeAndre Jordan is also reportedly joining them.

This, of course, follows KD's horrific season-ending injury in the NBA Finals just a few weeks ago -- when he ruptured his Achilles tendon after coming back from a previous calf injury.

Kevin's leaving tens of millions of dollars on the table by not re-signing with the Warriors -- a team he just went to three straight Finals with, walking with two Finals MVP awards and two rings. Some reports suggested KD was unhappy with the way the team handled his injury.

That's all in the past now though, and even the 2019-2020 season is somewhat moot ... seeing how he's not expected to return to the court until the start of the 2020-21 season. 

When he does come back, ya gotta like the Nets' chances to make the Finals out of the East. Oh, and sorry Knicks fans ... rough off-season for sure.

D'Angelo Russell Lifts Short Soccer Star To Dunk ... Lemme Give You a Hand!!

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No, this is not a shot from "Dirty Dancing" ... it's NBA star D'Angelo Russell lifting his new soccer friend, Riqui Puig, up for his first slam dunk ever!!!

DLo -- a huge FC Barcelona fan -- visited the team facility in Spain for a VIP tour ... and got to hang out with the 5'7" midfielder to shoot and kick some balls around.

Puig shows off his J, but admits he's too vertically challenged to ever graze the rim on his own ... so the 6'5" hooper gave him a hand for his first-ever dunk!!

DLo gets major props for his footwork during some keep-ups ... and even lands a goal in the back of the net when they tested his skills on the pitch.

Best part -- Russell got his own custom #1 Barca jersey ... so maybe he's already got his free agency destination already picked out!!

Stephen Jackson Supports D'Angelo After Weed Bust ... 'Stay Strong Kid!!!'

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Stephen Jackson is giving some solid advice to D'Angelo Russell following his weed bust earlier this week ... telling the NBA star to keep his head up and be SMARTER with his pot moving forward.

As we previously reported ... DLo was cited for marijuana possession Wednesday at LaGuardia airport after TSA found a fake can of Arizona iced tea in his checked bag ... with green stashed away in a secret compartment.

Stack is now going to bat for Russell ... essentially saying it's NBD because ganja's practically legal everywhere now, but laws are laws and the young hooper can't be getting in trouble.

"Thinking bout @dloading stay strong kid," Jackson says. "They rather u take man made stuff so they can benefit."

Jackson added, "Gotta be smarter DLo but remember it’s a 'PLANT' not a drug. Facts. Do your homework."

FYI -- Jackson is a big marijuana advocate ... and has teamed up with fellow ex-NBA great Al Harrington's Viola cannabis company to share the benefits of weed as an alternative to prescription pills for pain relief.

Stack says although it's on its way to being legal everywhere, it's still a crime ... "It’s only a prob having it if u successful and black. It’s dam near legal."

As for Russell, he hasn't spoken about the incident, yet ... but he's gonna survive. We're told the summons usually results in the defendant paying a fine and luckily for him, he's a millionaire.

D'Angelo Russell Busted for Weed at Airport Stashed in Arizona Tea Can

NBA star D'Angelo Russell was busted for marijuana at a New York City airport Wednesday night ... after TSA found weed stashed in his checked bag.

DLo's luggage was searched before his flight to Louisville took off from LaGuardia airport around 7 PM ... when a suspicious can of Arizona Iced Tea flagged the system.

As it turns out, it wasn't just an ordinary can of tea -- it was one of those "cans" that actually has a secret compartment people use to hide their drugs (y'all stoners know what we're talking about).

We're told there was more weed found in a grinder inside the fake can as well.

Law enforcement sources tell us Russell initially tried to say the weed belonged to his brother, but he was alone and in possession of the bag.

TMZ Sports has learned that Russell was cited for possession of marijuana (under 50 grams) ... and was allowed to leave. We're told the summons usually results in the defendant paying a fine.

The Brooklyn Nets released a statement Thursday afternoon, saying, "We have been made aware of the situation involving D’Angelo Russell and are in the process of gathering more information at this time."

It was a breakout season for Russell ... who averaged 21 points and 7 assists per game and made his 1st All-Star game.

76ers' Joel Embiid On Nets Playoff Series 'It's Over!'

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IT'S OVER
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Four amazing things in this 23-second clip ...

1) Joel Embiid says his playoff series with the Brooklyn Nets is already OVER -- even though it's only 3-1.

2) Embiid's post-game meal is Shake Shack (the burgers are awesome).

3) He stops to take a picture with a kid (always cool with his fans).

4) Embiid's girlfriend makes a cameo ... and good lord.

So, we spotted Embiid after his 76ers beat the Nets on Saturday -- in a game that was pretty contentious. Remember, Joel's teammate, Jimmy Butler, and Nets' player Jared Dudley got ejected when things got a little too chippy.

The 76ers ended up winning the game 112 to 108. Embiid had 31 points, 16 rebounds and 7 assists.

After the game, Embiid stopped for some celebratory fast food -- and that's when our 23-second encounter began.

Oh, and his girlfriend ... she is Anne De Paula -- a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition model from Brazil. The two have reportedly been together since late 2018.

Anyway, enjoy the clip! Enjoy Game 5! Happy Monday everyone!

NBA's DeMarre Carroll NYC's Pumped for the Nets ... Finally!!!

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BROOKLYN'S BACK
TMZSports.com

While the Knicks are busy booting fans from MSG ... the Nets are on the brink of making the playoffs ... and DeMarre Carroll says the city's totally buzzin' for them!!!

Of course ... New York's always been Knicks' territory. Even when the Nets came over to Brooklyn in 2012, the vast majority of folks held on to their beloved Knickerbockers and didn't care too much for the team from Jersey.

But, as it turns out ... the Nets are currently 7th in the East thanks to breakout seasons from players like D'Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie.

Earlier this week, BK had an insane 25-point, 4th-quarter comeback against the Kings ... behind Russell's 44 points.

And, the Knicks ... well, their 14-58 record is the worst in the NBA.

So, when we saw the NBAer out in Santa Monica on Thursday ... he said there's a lot of support for the squad as they head into the postseason.

"I think everybody's excited about what's going on, so it's a big time for the city," Carroll says.

We also asked Carroll how the league's gonna react to Zion Williamson ... and he says he ain't givin' the young bull ANY advice before he goes to the league but knows someone who might (cough, LeBron).

Kenyon Martin Advice To Rasheed Wallace H.S. Kids Are Annoying!!!

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GOOD LUCK, SHEED
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Rasheed Wallace is in for a world of annoyance at his new job as a high school hoops coach ... this according to his fellow ex-NBAer, Kenyon Martin ... who says kids don't listen to a damn thing nowadays.

Sheed was officially announced as the next head coach at Jordan HS in Durham, NC on Friday ... and when we got K-Mart at LAX, he had some slightly bad news for Wallace.

"It's gonna be tough, but I wish him all the best," Martin tells us.

Why exactly??? Kenyon -- whose son is a prodigy at Sierra Canyon in California -- has been around youngins since his boy has been playing ... and says they all have one thing in common.

Martin praises Wallace for going back to the prep level to share his vast knowledge of the game ... and says even though it's gonna be tough, he's got full confidence in Sheed succeeding.

Brooklyn Nets Double Down on Biggie Jerseys Despite Coogi Lawsuit

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The Brooklyn Nets are completely unfazed by the lawsuit over their Notorious B.I.G.-themed jerseys ... 'cause the team's rockin' the threads on Friday, despite Coogi taking legal action.

We broke the story ... Biggie's favorite sweater brand claims no one from the team or the NBA or Nike ever got permission to use the iconic pattern ... and called for the league to stop selling the "Brooklyn Camo" jerseys.

The Nets don't seem to care one bit ... announcing the team will be honoring the rap legend in the special jerseys when they take the court Friday against the Charlotte Hornets.

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Coogi claims they have copyrights for their most famous designs -- called "Pea Soup" and "Ricotta" -- and they feel the Nets straight swiped their swag.

A rep for the NBA told the New York Times, “There is no merit whatsoever to their claims.”

Of course, jersey selections can be made months in advance -- especially for certain tribute nights ... but the decision to stick with the Biggie alternates proves the Nets ain't sweatin' a legal battle with Coogi.

Brooklyn Nets Accused of Jacking Coogi Design ... for Biggie Tribute

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Notorious B.I.G.'s favorite sweater brand, Coogi -- as in, "Every cutie with a booty bought a Coogi" -- says the Brooklyn Nets stole their iconic fashion pattern ... and now they're suing the team.

Coogi is pissed off about a special jersey the Nets created called "Brooklyn Camo" -- which players wore during a Nov. 17, 2018 game as a tribute to Brooklyn's own Biggie Smalls, who loved Coogi sweaters.

The problem, according to Coogi, no one from the team or the NBA or Nike or New Era or Russell Brands ever got permission to use the iconic Coogi pattern ... so now, Coogi is suing all of 'em!

Coogi claims they have copyrights for their most famous designs -- called "Pea Soup" and "Ricotta" -- and they feel the Nets straight swiped their swag.

Coogi says the Nets should have known better -- considering the brand is often worn by huge stars like Conor McGregor, Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Rick Ross, Floyd Mayweather and more.

Plus, Biggie -- the guy the Nets were trying to honor -- shouted out the brand in two of his biggest hits ... 1994's "Big Poppa" and 1996's "Hypnotize."

Coogi is not only suing for damages ... they also want everyone involved to stop selling the "Brooklyn Camo" jerseys and other sportswear.

In the meantime, here's Biggie ... enjoy!

LeBron James, Paul George Praying For Caris LeVert ... After Gruesome Injury

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9:30 AM PT -- LeVert reportedly dislocated his right foot and ankle in the incident ... and he can return later this season.

The NBA community is rallying behind Caris LeVert after his sickening leg injury on Monday ... with superstars like LeBron James and Paul George showing support for the Brooklyn Nets player.

LeVert went up for a block toward the end of the 2nd quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves ... and he landed awkwardly on his right leg, which appeared to snap.

If you haven't seen the video already, it should probably stay that way. If you DO want to see it ... we warned you ... it's painfully gruesome.

"Young Fella prayers to you!" LeBron tweeted Monday night. "Speedy recovery and even stronger impact coming soon for sure!"

George added ... "God bless you youngin tough road ahead but we’re here to help lift you @CarisLeVert ! You know how to reach me"

"Prayers for Caris LeVert," Kevin Love tweeted. "Hate to see this. Having a hell of a season. Keep strong"

Gordon Hayward -- who also suffered a nasty injury last season -- offered his assistance in recovery ... saying "Best wishes and prayers to @CarisLeVert on a speedy recovery! The journey back is hard, but you’ll be stronger in the end. Please reach out if you need anything!"

FYI -- 24-year-old LeVert was having his best NBA season by far ... averaging 18 points a game.

LeVert was stretchered off the court and rushed to a Minneapolis hospital for treatment. Players in the game were so shaken up by the injury that some were reportedly crying in the locker room at halftime.

Chris Paul shared his sympathy, saying, "Prayers out to @CarisLeVert!!! Been watchin him play this season and I’ve loved every bit of it! Hate to see him get injured."

Austin Rivers added, "..... smh too sad! Thoughts and prayers go out too @CarisLeVert ! He was having a great season! Hope he comes back stronger than ever! 🙏🏼🙏🏼 prayers up for the kid!!"

Brooklyn Nets Star Caris LeVert Suffers Gruesome Injury ... Stretchered Off Court

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11/13 9:30 AM PT -- LeVert reportedly dislocated his right foot and ankle in the incident ... and he can return later this season.

Brooklyn Nets star Caris LeVert suffered a nasty leg injury Monday night that was reminiscent of the injury that sidelined Gordon Hayward for an entire season.

LeVert landed awkwardly after going up to attempt to block the Timberwolves' Josh Okogie and appears to have snapped his ankle. You can see how much pain he's in right away as he covers his face. LeVert had to be taken off the court by stretcher.

The injury is eerily similar to the one Hayward suffered last year during his debut with the Celtics. Hayward also landed awkwardly on his ankle, and had to undergo surgery to recover.

TOUGH BREAK
TNT

LeVert's injury is undoubtedly a season-ending one. There's been no official update on the severity of the break, but it's a huge loss for the Nets, who were 6-7 going into Monday's game.

Brooklyn Nets Player Claps Back at Jalen Rose ... You're Wrong About Us

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REAL FRIENDS
TMZSports.com

Jalen Rose was talking out his ass when he claimed the Brooklyn Nets aren't text buddies in the offseason ... at least, that's the takeaway after hearing from Allen Crabbe and Jeremy Lin.

Rose made the comments on 'Get Up' -- saying teams that aren't winning don't REALLY have fun with each other. He pointed to the Nets and said:

"I promise you, the Nets. OK. They play right here in Brooklyn. Those players are not exchanging texts with each other this offseason."

So, when we saw Crabbe in Bev Hills hours after the show ... we asked if Rose's theory was true.

"I don't know where he got that from," Crabbe tells TMZ Sports ... "I feel like our team's pretty cool. We all hang out together."

Crabbe ain't the only Net who says Rose is wrong ...

Jeremy Lin weighed in saying ... "Hmm Jalen much respect to you but no idea where this came from lol. I just had the whole team over for a fat bbq last week."

Winner? Nets.