John Wall Emotional Farewell To D.C. After Trade ... 'You Rocked With Me From Day One'

John Wall is pouring his heart out to his fans in Washington D.C. after being traded to Houston ... thanking his supporters for treating him like family over the past 10 years.

The #1 overall pick in 2010 was just shipped to the Rockets in exchange for Russell Westbrook in a blockbuster trade on Wednesday ... officially ending his run in the nation's capital.

Wall -- who was beloved in the city and active in the community since joining the NBA -- was sure to thank his former home in an emotional tribute on Thursday.

"I came to D.C. as a skinny 19-year-old with big dreams and goals," Wall said.

"You embraced me and my family with open arms. You rocked with me from day one until now."

He continued ... "From a young rookie to an All-Star, I did my best to make you proud. Through good times like that Game 6 versus Boston, through injuries & rehab, I always felt the love from you."

"I appreciate you and will ALWAYS have love for D.C."

Remember, Wall continued to give back to the city despite trade rumors just weeks ago ... handing out 1,000 Thanksgiving meals throughout the community.

STILL GOT LOVE FOR D.C.
TMZSports.com

Wall says he'll always appreciate everyone in D.C. ... no matter what team he's suiting up for.

"I may not wear the jersey anymore but I will never forget what it meant to represent for y'all."

"This isn't the way I thought I would say goodbye to this city, so I won't ... I will say THANK YOU!"

Danuel House Sorry For 'Mishap' That Led To NBA Bubble Exile ... 'Sincere Apologies'

BUBBLE BLUNDER
Houston Rockets

Danuel House says he's "sincerely" sorry for his actions that got him booted from the NBA bubble in Sept. ... with the Rockets player telling reporters Wednesday the whole thing was a "mishap."

As we previously reported ... House got punted from Walt Disney World in Orlando after league officials said he violated rules by having an unauthorized guest in his hotel room.

House reportedly allowed a female COVID tester into his room ... which was a big no-no, with the NBA having a strict guest policy to try to limit a potential coronavirus spread.

House's exile was pretty big for the Rockets -- he was a key contributor who had been averaging 11 points and 6 rebounds per game in the playoffs -- and immediately after his departure, Houston got bounced by the Lakers.

Now, Danuel is breaking his silence on the incident ... issuing a mea culpa at the very beginning of his meeting with the media at Wednesday's Rockets training camp workout.

"I'd like to start off by apologizing to my team and the organization and the owner for the mishap that happened in the bubble," the 27-year-old said.

"I'm focused. It's behind me. It's in the past. New year, new season. Looking forward to growing and expanding."

House also said he was sorry to Houston's fans ... adding, "Sincere apologies from me, Danuel House Jr. to everyone."

Russell Westbrook COVID-Safe Thanksgiving Food Giveaway ... Great Video!

Think COVID could stop Russell Westbrook from helping out some families in need during the holiday? HELL NO!!

The NBA superstar grabbed some masks, gloves and sanitizer and hit the streets of L.A. on Thursday for his annual Thanksgiving dinner giveaway ... with some minor adjustments to keep everyone safe!

Westbrook's Why Not? Foundation teamed up with the L.A. Regional Food Bank and others to host a drive-thru event at Jesse Owens Park ... where all volunteers were decked out in PPE to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

It's the 9th year of Westbrook's food event -- but due to the pandemic, he had to make some changes this time around -- a challenge he happily met.

"This year is a little different with COVID and everything going on in our society," Russell said ... "But I'm thankful to be here to be able to give back to so many families."

He later added on Twitter, "Things are challenging right now & people are struggling. This is why it is more important than ever for me to support my community any way I can while keeping everyone safe."

#Respect

Report: James Harden Wants Out Of Houston ... Due To Owner's Trump Support

9:20 PM PT -- A spokesperson for Landry's -- Tilman Fertitta's company -- issued a statement to TMZ Sports, saying the billionaire has donated to politicians on BOTH sides of the aisle ... including to Joe Biden's campaign.

“Throughout his business career, Tilman Fertitta has supported many individuals in public service. He has hosted numerous fundraisers for President Bill Clinton and hosted President George W. Bush in his home."

"Last year, he hosted a fundraiser for Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee as well as supported his longtime friend, Mark Kelly, now U.S. senator-elect of Arizona."

"He also contributed to President-elect Joe Biden’s campaign. As a respected business leader recognized across the country, Fertitta supports many Democrats, as well as Republicans.”

James Harden and many others in the Rockets' org. all want OUT of Houston ... and it's all reportedly because the team's owner is a big Donald Trump supporter.

NBA insider Ric Bucher dropped the bombshell revelation on "The Odd Couple" podcast this week ... saying Tilman Fertitta's ties to the Republican party and Trump have created a massive divide in the org.

According to Bucher ... players and staffers have disagreed so heavily with Tilman's donations to the Trump campaign -- it's created a straight-up "revolt."

"What I heard is," Bucher said, "and we know how much politics and political position had to do with the boycott and protests during the Bubble -- I'm hearing that Tilman Fertitta’s strong Republican support and donations is one of the things that is contributing to this dissatisfaction."

Bucher added, "There is a revolt here because they look at Fertitta as a guy who supports the current President."

Russell Westbrook has already reportedly requested a trade from the Rockets ... and Harden is said to now want out as well.

The team also jettisoned Robert Covington this week ... while last year's coach, Mike D'Antoni, and last year's GM, Daryl Morey, have already left the squad.

Fertitta -- who bought the Rockets in 2017 for $2.2 BILLION -- has never been shy about his public support for Trump ... he's praised POTUS often, and the two are known to be good pals.

We've reached out to the Rockets for comment on Bucher's report ... so far, no word back yet.

Daryl Morey Resigning as Houston Rockets GM ... 1 Year After China Drama

Daryl Morey is leaving his position as general manager of the Houston Rockets ... roughly 1 year after he created an international incident with a pro-Hong Kong tweet.

48-year-old Morey was NOT fired, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski -- but rather it was Daryl who approached Rockets' owner, Tilman Fertitta, and initiated the conversation to step down.

Morey has been the GM for the past 13 seasons -- and wanted to explore other professional options for himself while spending more time with his family ... according to Woj.

Morey was successful during his run with the team -- the Rockets have made the playoffs 8 years in the row, the longest streak among NBA teams.

But he's most well-known for the China incident -- on Oct. 4, 2019 he tweeted out support for Hong Kong, which REALLY pissed off China.

The tweet read, "Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong," with a pic of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong in October.

The Tweet created a ton of backlash in China ... with massive Chinese e-commerce site Taobao yanking all Rockets merchandise and CCTV pulling NBA games from broadcast.

It was just last week that China allowed CCTV to air NBA games again -- after a massive relationship rebuilding campaign led by NBA commish Adam Silver.

Woj says Morey will stay in the job to help the team find a new head coach -- and he isn't against working with the team in some capacity somewhere down the line.

Russell Westbrook Left $8,000 Tip For Housekeepers ... After Bubble Exit

Incredible gesture by Houston Rockets superstar Russell Westbrook ... who showed his thanks to the NBA bubble housekeepers by leaving a fat, $8,000 tip!!!

Remember, most players were stuck in the same hotel room on the Disney World campus for MONTHS ... which means a LOT of stinky socks, clothes and shoes.

The 31-year-old gave mad respect to those doing the dirty work before the Rockets left the bubble ... gifting them the massive tip and leaving his room "virtually spotless," according to Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News.

Brodie confirmed the act to Taylor Rooks, saying, "They took great care of us. Took the time & energy to do their job at a high level. That was the right thing."

The NBA players and coaches have reportedly been extremely kind to all Disney staffers with tips and other kind gestures throughout their time in the NBA bubble ... and this is just one of many instances.

Ya love to see it.

Danuel House Booted from NBA Bubble Over Unauthorized Guest in Hotel Room

Danuel House ... is being sent home.

The Houston Rockets player has officially been kicked out of the NBA bubble environment in Orlando, Florida after league officials say he broke COVID protocol by having an unauthorized guest in his hotel room.

House reportedly invited a female COVID tester to his room on Sept. 8th -- despite the fact she is not allowed to hang with players when she's off the clock.

Players are only allowed to have authorized guests in their hotel room -- people who have been approved by the league.

The NBA investigated the allegations and while they didn't identify the unauthorized guest by name, the league clearly states House broke the rules.

"The NBA has concluded its investigation of a recent violation of campus health and safety protocols."

"The findings are that: Houston Rockets forward Danuel House had a guest in his hotel room over multiple hours on September 8 who was not authorized to be on campus."

The league says there was "no evidence" that other players or staff had contact with the guest or were involved in this incident.

"Mr. House is leaving the NBA campus and will not participate with the Rockets team in additional games this season."

It's a big blow to the Rockets -- the team is down 3-1 in their playoff series with the Lakers and House has been a significant contributor on the court ... averaging 11 points and 6 rebounds per game in the playoffs.

NBA's Danuel House Jr. Investigated Over Woman in Hotel Room ... Denies Wrongdoing

The NBA has launched an investigation into Houston Rockets forward Danuel House -- after he allegedly violated Bubble protocol by allowing a woman into his hotel room.

The twist ... the woman in question is a COVID tester who's cleared to be inside the bubble, but apparently she's not allowed to hang with players in their rooms when she's off the clock.

According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the league is trying to figure out exactly what happened ... though so far, House has reportedly denied any wrongdoing.

House -- an important role player for H-Town -- missed Game 3 against the Lakers on Tuesday due to "personal reasons."

Now, there's a question if the investigation played a role in his absence.

If House is forced to undergo a mandatory 10-day quarantine over the incident, he would miss the remainder of the playoff series against the Lakers, which is a big deal.

The Lakers are up 2-1 in the best of 7 series. Game 4 is set for Thursday.

House is averaging 11.4 points and nearly 6 rebounds per game during the playoffs ... he's an important member of the Rockets.

According to Haynes, several other NBA teams are keeping a close on eye on the House investigation to see how it all plays out.

Several hoopers have broken the bubble rules since hitting the campus in July ... including Sacramento Kings player Richaun Holmes, who left the perimeter to pick up chicken wings.

James Harden Blue Lives Matter Mask Wasn't Political ... 'It Covered My Beard'

James Harden says he was NOT making a statement with his Blue Lives Matter mask in the NBA bubble this week ... saying he only wore it because it "looked cool" and covered his beard.

"I just felt like it was something that covered my whole face and the beard," the Houston Rockets superstar told reporters. "I thought it looked cool, that was it."

FYI, Harden has been catching a TON of heat over the mask after social media sleuths found out the mask is called the "Blue Line Skull" -- the design appears to be a nod to Blue Lives Matter.

Harden says he was unaware the mask even had an association with police officers ... and added, "Honestly, I wasn't trying to make a political statement."

James says he's struggled to find face coverings during the pandemic ... because most don't fit over his giant, famous beard.

But, the one he wore Thursday in Florida worked perfectly.

"I just wore it because it covered my whole face and my beard," Harden said.

There was tremendous backlash on social media -- even Trey Songz went after James saying the mask was "certified clown sh*t."

For his part, Harden told reporters Thursday night he was in favor of the nationwide protests following George Floyd's tragic death ... saying, "The marching and everything that we’re standing for is very powerful."

Russ Westbrook Happy 3rd Bday, Noah!!!

Russell Westbrook's got a special birthday message for his little man -- and it's another side of Russ we really don't see too often on the court.

The Rockets star point guard posted a sweet message Saturday to his only boy, Noah, wishing him a happy third birthday -- while also throwing up a bunch of photos and videos of the two of them doing some father-son bonding.

FATHER-SON SINGIN'

He writes, "Noah, I love you more than life itself and everyday It brings me so much joy to see that beautiful smile and to know you are my son. Thank you God for this unbelievable blessing. HAPPY 3rd BIRTHDAY MANMAN!!!!!!! Daddy loves you forever and ever and ever and ever......🎉🎉🎉🎂🎂🎂🎁🎁"

Noah is Russ' first kid between himself and wife Nina Earl. They had him in 2017, and a year later ... they welcomed twin girls. Russ might not get as much pub as some of the other NBA dads in the league -- a la Steph Curry and LeBron James -- but he's quite the family man, it seems.

Dude has tons of photos of him, his kids and his spouse. Good to see another side to him than what's often played up in the media. Also ... Happy Birthday, Noah!!!

NBA's Trey Lyles Spills Fan's $14 Beer ... She Big Mad!!!

Meet the newest Splash Bro ... Trey Lyles!!!

Check out the San Antonio Spurs player accidentally dumping a fan's pricey beer at the Toyota Center in Houston on Monday ... and her reaction is priceless!!

It all started when Rockets star Russell Westbrook fired a pass that went into the stands -- directly crushing a woman's beer.

That's when Lyles went over to retrieve the ball -- which was under a seat -- and as he flipped it up to himself, he knocked ANOTHER woman's beer right out of her hand ... sending beer suds everywhere!

You can see the woman's face ... she ain't happy (Hey, beer at NBA games ain't cheap!!!)

Hopefully, SOMEONE (hint, hint Spurs) hooked up a replacement brew for the fan -- and maybe some towels for everyone in the area who got soaked in the process!

As for the action ON the court -- the Rockets eventually won the game 109 to 107.

Cheers to that.

Kenny Smith Harden Won't Be Greatest Rocket ... 'Til He Wins A Ring

GAME SPEAKS FOR ITSELF
TMZSports.com

Even if James Harden broke the scoring record and scored 100 points in a game, there's still one thing keeping him from being the greatest Rockets player ever -- A RING!! -- so says Kenny Smith.

The Beard has been going OFF this season -- averaging nearly 39 points and 8 assists through 19 games -- leaving some fans wondering if Harden has what it takes to go down as the G.O.A.T. in Houston.

TMZ Sports spoke with the Jet at LAX on Monday and had to ask if Harden's ever gonna take the throne from Hakeem Olajuwon ... and while he says Harden's "in the conversation," Smith says James still needs some work.

"You gotta win championships," Smith tells us. "The scoring records are great and that's putting him in the conversation."

"The assists, his overall play. But, the greatests are always measured by championships."

For the record, Hakeem has 2 rings and 2 Finals MVPs on his resume.

We also got Kenny to talk some LaMelo Ball ... and while he says the kid is "damn good," Smith thinks there are some other guys who have a better chance of being called with the #1 overall pick.

James Harden Apologizes to China After Rockets GM's Pro Hong Kong Tweets

James Harden is apologizing to China -- insisting he "loves" the country -- after his team's general manager caused an international crap storm by tweeting out support for Hong Kong.

"We apologize. We love China," Harden said while standing next to Houston Rockets teammate Russell Westbrook.

"We love playing there. Both of us, we go there once or twice a year," Harden added.

"We appreciate them as a fan base. We love everything there about them, and we appreciate the support that they give us individually and as [an] organization."

So, what's the issue?

On Friday, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted out 7 words ... "Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong."

If you're unaware of the issues between China and Hong Kong ... there's big drama between the two sides at the moment.

Beijing currently controls many aspects of the former British colony, where there's been 4 months of violent pro-democracy protests.

The NBA has a huge presence in China, where the league has made a concentrated effort to grow for years ... but Morey's tweet REALLY pissed off the Asian country.

In just a few days, China's state broadcaster said it was pulling Houston Rockets games off the air. Sponsors have abandoned the Rockets and the NBA is scrambling to try and smooth things over ASAP.

And, massive Chinese e-commerce site Taobao has pulled all Rockets merchandise.

On Sunday, Morey tweeted about the issues ... saying, "I did not intend my tweet to cause any offense to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China."

"I was merely voicing one thought, based on one interpretation, of one complicated event. I have had a lot of opportunity since that tweet to hear and consider other perspectives."

"I have always appreciated the significant support our Chinese fans and sponsors have provided and I would hope that those who are upset will know that offending or misunderstanding them was not my intention. My tweets are my own and in no way represent the Rockets or the NBA."

U.S. presidential candidates are now weighing in on the issue -- with Beto O'Rourke tweeting, "The only thing the NBA should be apologizing for is their blatant prioritization of profits over human rights. What an embarrassment."

What's going to be interesting ... the Lakers are supposed to play the Brooklyn Nets in Shanghai later this week.

Stay tuned ...

Carmelo Anthony I Know I Can Still Play in NBA

I'M NOT DONE
ESPN

Carmelo Anthony says there's no question he still belongs in the NBA ... and claims his absence from the league is more about politics than talent.

35-year-old Anthony has been out of the league since he was cut from the Houston Rockets back in November ... and there's been a public campaign by his NBA peers to get him back in the league ever since.

Melo sat down with Stephen A. Smith on ESPN's "First Take" on Friday to discuss rumors of wanting a "farewell tour" similar to Dwyane Wade's last season in the league ... and he says that's simply not true ... because he's still got a lot left in the tank.

"I feel like I still can play, I know I still can play. My peers know I still can play," Melo says.

"I don't think it's about basketball anymore. I think it's about me as a person willing to accept certain roles on basketball teams. Am i willing to accept a certain role on a basketball team? Yes."

Melo says he was willing to accept smaller roles with OKC and Houston ... but got cut from the Rockets before he could prove he was willing to come off the bench.

"That's major, major ego hits. So, that was a whirlwind for me over that year and a half. But, I got to a point in Houston where I can accept that, I'm going to do that."

Melo says he "1,000%" believes he's gotten a bad rep with people inside the league ... but makes it very clear he's not giving up.

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