Clippers' Terence Mann Hey Rajon Rondo ... I Carry Your Rookie Card in My Wallet!!!

GOOD LUCK CHARM
Los Angeles Clippers

The Rajon Rondo trade to L.A. is a dream come true for Clippers player Terance Mann ... who IDOLIZES Rondo so much, he's been carrying the guy's rookie card in his wallet for years!!!

AND HE PROVED IT ON CAMERA!!

Check out Mann whipping out his 2006 Topps #251 Rondo rookie card during Thursday's news conference with the media ... right after the Clippers announced Rajon was coming to town!

24-year-old Mann -- a 2019 draft pick -- explained he's been carrying the card in his wallet since 7th grade because he thinks it's good luck!

Mann explained ... "Somebody gave it to me, then I made the A-team for my travel team. I was like, 'Man, it’s gotta be this card!'"

Mann continued, "So I kept the card, and I kept getting better and better at basketball."

Hey, if it works ... why break tradition?!

Now, with the collectibles market blowing up at record levels -- Mann needs to get Rondo to SIGN the card (and get it authenticated) and it could be worth a fortune!!

What a day for Mann!

Blake Griffin Becomes Free Agent After Buyout ... Lakers Next?!

Blake Griffin is officially a free agent -- the 6-time All-Star has agreed to a contract buyout with the Detroit Pistons ... and now the big question is: where's he gonna go next?!

31-year-old Griffin -- the #1 overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft -- can now join any team he wishes ... and there are some serious contenders reportedly interested in adding Griffin for a playoff run.

One of those teams?? The Los Angeles Lakers, a squad that's already stacked ... but could really use the depth in the hunt to repeat as NBA champions in 2021.

There are 3 other teams that have expressed interest in Griffin -- the Miami Heat, Golden State Warriors and Brooklyn Nets, according to reporter Marc Stein.

Of course, Griffin hasn't played for the Pistons since Feb. 12 ... when Detroit announced he would remain inactive while they explored trades and the possibility of buying out his contract.

Considering Blake has a player option worth nearly $39 million for next season, it's no surprise Motor City couldn't find a suitable offer.

Griffin played in L.A. for 9 years with the Clippers ... but there's a real possibility he could return to his old home as a Laker this time around.

Story developing ...

Clippers' Jerry West Alleged Voicemail Called Lakers A 'Sh*t Show' To Sway Kawhi To Clips

THE ALLEGED VOICEMAIL

The man suing Jerry West and the Clippers for his alleged role in landing Kawhi Leonard says West left him a voicemail message in 2019 acknowledging their relationship and trashing the Lakers in the process.

Johnny Wilkes tells TMZ Sports ... West left the voicemail for him on July 1, 2019, around 2 PM ... "expressing concern that Kawhi would choose the Lakers over the Clippers."

Wilkes says, "In the same message, Jerry thanked me for all my efforts in getting Kawhi to sign with the Clippers."

TMZ Sports has obtained the voicemail -- in which a man who sounds like West says, "Hey there, this is Jerry calling. I really want to thank you a lot for trying to help. I heard this morning that everyone over in the Lakers camp thinks they're gonna get him."

"I just find it hard to believe that he would want to go to that sh*t show where he would not even be ... wouldn't even get his name in the paper and he wouldn't be the face of the franchise that's for sure."

"He might be the best player on the team, but hope things are well and again, I really really appreciate everything you've done."

The man believed to be West is seemingly referring to the fact LeBron James is with the Lakers -- and there's zero shot Kawhi would overtake him as the face of the team.

The man also seems to think Kawhi is a better player than LeBron, Anthony Davis and other members of the Lakers.

FYI, West is an executive board member with the Clippers. He's also considered one of the greatest Lakers players of all time.

The voicemail continues ... "I will keep you apprised of what's going on. But, I do want to get together with you privately and would love to take you to dinner and even Sam if he's around. So I can at least pay my respects to you guys for being so generous and helpful. Take care, talk to you sometime soon. Bye-bye."

We're told the "Sam" in question is Sam Watson -- who Wilkes claims was also involved in the effort to land Kawhi with the Clippers.

As we previously reported, West has DENIED any wrongdoing connected to the signing of Kawhi Leonard -- but when contacted about this specific piece of audio, neither West nor the Clippers would comment.

The Clippers previously issued a statement saying, "The lawsuit filed by Johnny Wilkes is replete with inaccuracies and the allegations are baseless. The Clippers are fully cooperating with the NBA in its investigation, which is standard when these types of allegations are made.

"[The Clippers] are providing the NBA with evidence that the allegations are false."

The NBA has launched an investigation into the allegations stemming from the lawsuit.

NBA Investigating Clippers & Jerry West Kawhi Leonard Denies Involvement

5:47 AM PT -- 12/18 -- Kawhi Leonard is now weighing in on the allegations -- saying the claims in Johnny Wilkes' lawsuit are simply not true.

After the Clippers played the Utah Jazz in a pre-season game on Thursday, Leonard was asked if Wilkes had a role in his decision to come to the Clippers.

"Not at all,” Leonard said ... "That has nothing to do with me coming here."

"I’m from L.A. I grew up here my whole life. Out here, people try to find any way to get some money. So it probably won’t be the last. I know a lot of people out here."

The NBA has launched its own investigation into allegations made against the Clippers and Jerry West in a new lawsuit, TMZ Sports has learned.

The allegations are spelled out in a lawsuit filed by Johnny Wilkes -- who says West promised him $2.5 MILLION for helping the Clippers sign superstar free agent Kawhi Leonard in 2019.

If the allegations are true, it would be a violation of NBA policy -- and West and the Clippers could be subject to league discipline.

For his part, West has DENIED the allegations -- telling TMZ Sports, "I deny engaging in any improper conduct in connection with the signing of Kawhi Leonard.”

In his lawsuit, Wilkes says he has close ties with Kawhi and Kawhi's uncle, Dennis Robertson -- and promised he had information that would give the Clippers an advantage in the battle to land the NBA's top free agent.

Wilkes says he also helped facilitate a deal between West and Kawhi's uncle ... in which West agreed to give Uncle Dennis a Southern California home and a travel expense account.

Kawhi ultimately signed with the Clippers -- but Wilkes says West never ponied up the $2.5 million fee ... so he filed a lawsuit for breach of contract and more.

Originally Published -- 12/17 3:10 PM PT

Jerry West Sued Man Claims He Helped Clippers Get Kawhi ... You Owe Me 2.5 Mil!!!

4:10 PM PT -- A rep for Jerry West tells TMZ Sports he did nothing improper ... and didn't even know he was being sued.

“I am not aware of any lawsuit being filed against me and I deny engaging in any improper conduct in connection with the signing of Kawhi Leonard.”

A man who claims to be Kawhi Leonard's pal says Jerry West owes him $2.5 MIL for his role in helping the Clippers land the NBA superstar ... and he's demanding JW pay up ASAP.

It's all in a new lawsuit obtained by TMZ Sports ... in which Johnny Wilkes spells out how he agreed to work with West for a small fortune in exchange for help getting Kawhi in a Clippers uni.

Wilkes says back on April 10, 2019, he met West at Staples Center and informed the Clippers' executive board member he had close ties to Kawhi and Kawhi's uncle, Dennis Robertson.

Wilkes says he and West exchanged contact information ... and a few weeks later, in June, West asked Wilkes for help in courting Kawhi to Los Angeles.

In the suit, Wilkes claims he told West he'd only help if the Clippers would pay him $2.5 MILLION ... and Wilkes claims West agreed to the terms.

Wilkes says in the lawsuit he "immediately went to work" ... and began convincing Kawhi and Kawhi's uncle the Clippers were the right team for him after he had just left the Toronto Raptors.

Wilkes says he told West and the Clippers they needed to get Paul George first and foremost to hook Kawhi. He then says he helped connect West with Kawhi's uncle.

Wilkes also claims in the suit he gave West a specific gameplan for how the Clippers should pitch Kawhi during an important meeting with West, Leonard, Doc Rivers and others in July 2019.

"This information was vital," Wilkes said in the lawsuit, "because it was the exact information Kawhi Leonard wanted to hear at the time in order to effectuate his signing with the Clippers."

Wilkes also says he helped facilitate a deal between West and Kawhi's uncle ... in which West agreed to give Uncle Dennis a Southern California home and a travel expense account.

Wilkes says after Kawhi ultimately agreed to sign with the Clippers in late July ... he went for a celebratory meal with West and others in Beverly Hills.

Wilkes claims West agreed yet again at the dinner to fork over $2.5 million for all the help ... but Wilkes claims in the suit he still hasn't received a penny -- and he's suing West and the Clippers for breach of contract and more.

Wilkes is asking for the $2.5 mil plus damages.

We've reached out to the Clippers for comment ... but so far, no word back.

Originally published -- 7:02 AM PT

NBA's Ivica Zubac Clips Don't Have To Trade Paul George ... Shaq's Wrong!!!

SWATTING SHAQ
TMZSports.com

L.A. Clippers center Ivica Zubac says Shaquille O'Neal is flat-out WRONG to say Paul George needs to be traded ... telling TMZ Sports the team can be successful with PG-13 AND Kawhi Leonard on board.

Remember, the NBA legend was critical of the Clips following their 2nd round exit in the 2020 playoffs ... saying the team needs to ship George elsewhere and let Klaw be the guy.

GOTTA MAKE A CHANGE
PodcastOne/The Big Podcast With Shaq

We asked Zubac if he agreed with Shaq's comments Thursday at LAX ... and while he didn't say much, he got his point across.

"No," the 7-footer told us ... adding, "that's the man!!!"

Now, there were reports of serious locker room drama within the Clips organization this past postseason ... and while Zubac wouldn't dive into that discussion, it's clear he's sticking with his guy.

While the Clippers will be led by a different coach next season -- Doc Rivers is out, Ty Lue is in -- the squad is still one of the favorites to win it all.

So ... maybe not all hope is lost after all.

Shaquille O'Neal Clippers Gotta Trade Paul George ... This is Kawhi's Team!!

GOTTA MAKE A CHANGE
PodcastOne/The Big Podcast With Shaq

Shaq says if the Clippers ever want to win an NBA championship, they gotta ship Paul George’s ass outta Los Angeles ... like now!!

Some background ... after landing Leonard and PG last season, the Clips were favorites to win an NBA title in 2020 ... but ended up getting bounced by the Denver Nuggets in the 2nd round of the playoffs.

Doc Rivers was fired as head coach ... and now O'Neal -- who's got 4 rings and knows a little something about winning -- says it's time the team unloads its 30-year-old, 6x NBA All-Star who averaged over 21 points last year.

Here's how the conversation went on Shaquille's "The Big Podcast with Shaq."

Shaq: [The Clippers] gotta get rid of someone.

Co-host: Who?

Shaq: C'mon, bro.

Co-host: Pandemic P? They ain't gonna get rid of him, they gave up the farm for him.

Shaq: Well, guess what? They gave up the farm, but we can change some crops on that mug.

O'Neal went on to say that the Clippers should trade George -- who struggled mightily in the playoffs and reportedly beefed with teammates -- for multiple role players ... so 29-year-old Kawhi Leonard is clearly the man on the squad.

"You gotta use [George] to get 2 good solid players because I need Kawhi to be the man. See Kawhi, I don't want Kawhi to delegate," Shaq says.

"See, when Kawhi was with Toronto he knew he was the man, everybody knew he was the man. Now you got one guy that thinks he's the man, one guy that is the man."

Even following the 2020 disaster, the Clips still have the 2nd highest odds to win the title next year -- behind LeBron James and the L.A. Lakers.

So, with oddsmakers expecting a big season next year ... will Steve Ballmer and Clippers management take Shaq's advice and get rid of a bonafide NBA star??

Tyronn Lue Replacing Doc As L.A. Clippers Coach ... 5-Year Deal!!!

Tyronn Lue will be the next man in charge of leading Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers to a championship ... the former Cavs head man has agreed to become the new coach in L.A.!

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday that Lue and the team agreed to a 5-year contract ... officially setting the stage for Ty to take over from Doc Rivers.

As we previously reported, DR was booted from his role as HC just a few weeks ago after he failed to lead a stacked Clips team past the 2nd round of the NBA playoffs.

Now, Lue will take over ... and expectations are higher than ever.

The Clippers are set to return most of their stars -- including Leonard and Paul George -- in 2021 ... and could add even more firepower through trades and free agency this offseason.

Lue, meanwhile, has a championship pedigree ... he was the head man in Cleveland when LeBron James and Kyrie Irving came back from down 3-1 to the Warriors to win a 'ship in 2016.

43-year-old Lue has a career head coaching record of 128-83.

Doc Rivers Lands Sixers Head Coaching Job ... After Clippers Exit

Well, THAT didn't take long.

Doc Rivers is back on an NBA bench just days after leaving the L.A. Clippers ... agreeing to become the next head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

The longtime L.A. coach mutually parted ways with the Clips earlier this week ... after a disappointing exit from the playoffs.

Rivers addressed the exit in a statement, saying, "While I was able to accomplish most of my goals, I won't be able to see them all through. Though it was a disappointing ending to our season, you are right there and I know what this team is capable of accomplishing with your support."

Rivers made it clear he wasn't ready to hang up his tie just yet ... and while an official announcement has yet to be made, it's only a matter of time.

Rivers -- who has posted a 943-681 record as a head coach -- beat out huge names like Mike D'Antoni and Ty Lue for the gig ... and is taking on a team with a ton of talent.

The Sixers have been hoping to get back into the Finals for years ... and now they got a guy who has won it all.

Story developing ...

Doc Rivers Out As Clippers Coach After Disappointing Season

Doc Rivers is officially OUT as Los Angeles Clippers head coach ... after a quick exit from the NBA Playoffs.

58-year-old Rivers has coached the Clips since 2013 ... and after adding Kawhi Leonard and Paul George this last off-season, L.A. Clippers were favorites to win an NBA title.

Despite having a 3-1 lead on the Denver Nuggets, the Clippers were eliminated in the Western Conference Semifinals.

Shortly after they were bounced from the playoffs, there were reports of turmoil within the team ... with PG allegedly feuding with his teammates.

Rivers addressed losing his job on social media, writing ... "Thank you Clipper Nation for allowing me to be your coach and for all your support in helping making this a winning franchise. When I took this job, my goals were to make this a winning basketball program, a free agent destination, and bring a championship to this organization."

"While I was able to accomplish most of my goals, I won't be able to see them all through. Though it was a disappointing ending to our season, you are right there and I know what this team is capable of accomplishing with your support."

"Thank you to all the players, coaches and staff for helping us get here. Most importantly, thank you to the fans. We went through a lot, and I am grateful for my time here."

Of course, Rivers -- who is 943-681 as a head coach -- won a ring with the Boston Celtics in 2008.

There are a few possible landing spots if Doc decides he wants to coach next season ... the Houston Rockets and the Philadelphia 76ers are both teams with stacked rosters that don't have a coach.

Paul George Clippers Fan Sets Jersey On Fire ... After Early Playoff Exit

"Would you look at that? It's the first time Paul George has been on fire all night!"

One angry L.A. Clippers fan was SO heated over his team's epic collapse in the 2nd-round of the playoffs ... he took a flame to his own Paul George jersey!!

It's no secret -- losing to the Denver Nuggets is NOT what the Clips had in mind this season ... with many expecting Kawhi Leonard and PG13 to lead the team to its first title.

This fan decided he'd had enough of repping George on Tuesday night ... destroying his jersey and ripping the baller in the process.

FYI -- Playoff P had just 10 points and 4 rebounds in the loss.

This isn't the first time we've seen George jerseys set ablaze ... some angry Indiana Pacers fans did the act back in 2017 when their All-Star announced he would be leaving in free agency the following season.

This reaction is CLEARLY a bit of an overreaction ... but the frustration is understandable -- after all, Kawhi and George combined for 0 points in the 4th quarter as the Clips were eliminated from the playoffs.

But hey, there's always next year!!

(H/T Sideline Sources)

Clippers' Marcus Morris Fined For Hard Foul on Luka Doncic ... During Game 6

The NBA just hit Marcus Morris with a $35,000 fine for that hard foul on Luka Doncic during Game 6 of the playoff series between the Clippers and Mavs.

Morris and Doncic had been going after each other for the entire series -- things were chippy -- but things came to a head in the 1st quarter of Game 6 when Marcus hit Luka in the face while Doncic was going up for a layup.

A scuffle ensued. The players had to be separated. Morris was ejected from the game.

Now, to make matters worse for Morris ... he's gotta come out of pocket to the tune of $35k for "recklessly striking" Doncic, according to the NBA.

"The amount of the fine was based in part on the fact that Morris has been disciplined on several prior occasions for physical altercations on the court," the NBA said.

Later in the game, a rattled Doncic lost his cool over a foul call -- and threw the ball at the feet of one of the refs.

Doncic argued that he didn't intend to hit the ref -- just bad luck.

The NBA has fined Doncic over that incident to the tune of $15,000.

The Clippers ended up winning the game and the clinching the series, sending Doncic and the Mavs out of the NBA Bubble.

The Clippers are now set to face the Denver Nuggets in the 2nd round of the playoffs -- that series kicks off Thursday.

NBA's Montrezl Harrell Apologizes To Luka ... For 'Bitch Ass White Boy' Comment

Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell apologized to Luka Doncic for calling the Mavs star a "bitch-ass white boy" ... squashing potential beef with a pregame hug and handshake Sunday.

If you missed it ... Harrell went viral Friday for his trash talk of the Dallas point guard -- when cameras caught the L.A. player mouthing the words to Luka after a big first-quarter bucket.

Of course, given the nation's current climate and battle for racial equality ... Montrezl was heavily criticized for the chatter -- with ex-NBA player Jay Williams saying straight-up, "I can only imagine if Luka Doncic had said something like that to you."

Montrezl says he took it upon himself to clear the air with Luka before Game 4 on Sunday ... and in video of their conversation, you can see there was no bad blood at all.

"Nothing but respect for Luka," Harrell said of their pregame embrace. "He understood the heat of the battle and he said it didn’t bother him only RESPECT."

For his part, Luka said he accepted Harrell's apology ... adding, "No worries."

"There’s a lot of emotions on the court, especially this is playoffs," Doncic said. "Sometimes you say things you don’t want to say. He apologized. I respect that, so no problems.”

Clippers coach Doc Rivers says he addressed everything with Harrell in house ... telling reporters over the weekend that Montrezl MUST be more careful with his words.

"I said to him, ‘Hey, I don’t think you meant anything racially by it.’ He said ‘white boy,’ but I don’t think there was anything racial intended," Rivers said. "But we are in a very heightened climate and you have to be careful."

"Trez was the first one to say that. He said, ‘I didn’t mean that racially.’ And I said it doesn’t matter. It’s what’s perceived. ... make sure you do the right thing."

Lou Williams Admits Going To Strip Club While Away From Bubble

4:55 PM PT -- 7/25 -- Williams admitted to NBA security he visited Magic City strip club in Atlanta on Thursday night ... while he was excused from the NBA bubble to attend a family member's memorial service.

Williams claims he was at the gentleman's club for a "short time" to pick up dinner after the family member's viewing ... which is when Harlow snapped a pic with the vet.

In other words ... Harlow slipped up and tried to cover for his friend.

Williams -- who has rejoined the team in Orlando -- is now under investigation by the league to determine how long he will have to quarantine.

11:56 AM PT -- Williams just posted a tribute to a family member who passed away last week ... which perhaps explains his reason for leaving the NBA bubble.

Rapper Jack Harlow says he was NOT hanging out with Lou Williams on Thursday ... claiming he has nothing to do with the Clippers star leaving the NBA bubble.

The 33-year-old L.A. hooper reportedly left the Disney campus this week due to "excused personal reasons" ... but is expected to rejoin the team at a later date.

The whole thing seemed pretty normal -- considering several players have left the bubble for a number of reasons in the past few weeks -- until the "What's Poppin'" rapper posted an IG Story with Williams.

"A location U would never guess," Harlow captioned the pic ... tagging Williams.

Harlow quickly deleted the pic ... which led people to speculate if he accidentally got the Sixth Man of the Year in trouble.

But, Harlow tried to clear the air on Friday ... saying the pic was old and he was just missing his buddy.

"That was an old pic of me and Lou. I was just reminiscing cuz I miss him," Harlow said.

What makes things even more bizarre -- Harlow deleted that tweet minutes later.

So ... what the hell is going on?? Is Harlow trying to cover his tracks, or is it all a misunderstanding??

Either way, the Clippers have lost several guys -- including key players like Montrezl Harrell and Patrick Beverley -- with the season restart quickly approaching on July 30 ... so it'll be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Story developing ...

Originally Published -- 7/24 11:18 AM PT

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