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Kevin Love LeBron Can Take Lakers to NBA Finals If ...

6/8/2019 12:10 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Kevin Love knows firsthand how LeBron James can change a franchise -- and he's telling TMZ Sports why NBA fans would be dumb to count out the Lakers in the 2019-20 season. 

The Cleveland Cavs star is back in L.A. where he went to college (UCLA) -- so, we had to ask if he was reuniting with his old teammate while he's in town. 

Love says there are no plans to get a workout in with #23 -- but he's still a big fan of James ... explaining what the Lakers need to do in order to get back to relevancy next season. 

We also spoke with Love about those ongoing trade rumors and if he ever gets bothered by the rumblings he could get shipped out CLE. 

Love also talks about his friendship with current UCLA star Shareef O'Neal and why he could be the next big thing in basketball. 

Oh, we also asked Love if he would ever want to play for an L.A. team during his NBA career ... and ya gotta hear his answer. 

NBA Bans Warriors Part-Owner ... Who Pushed Kyle Lowry

6/6/2019 2:24 PM PDT
Breaking News

2:20 PM PT -- The NBA has handed down Stevens' official punishment -- a 1-year ban effective immediately and $500k fine for "pushing and directing obscene language towards" Lowry during the incident.

1:00 PM PT -- Lowry says Stevens said "go f*** yourself" multiple times during the incident ... and is calling for Stevens to be banned from all NBA games moving forward.

Klay Thompson had a different take ... saying it was an unfortunate incident ... but wants to give Stevens the "benefit of the doubt."

12:20 PM PT -- The NBA has BANNED Golden State Warriors part-owner Mark Stevens from attending NBA games after pushing Kyle Lowry during Game 3 of the NBA Finals. 

An NBA spokesperson says Stevens' conduct has "no place in our league."

Unclear how long the ban will last -- but for now, he's persona non grata. 

Here's the full statement from the NBA: 

"A team representative must be held to the highest possible standard and the conduct of Golden State Warriors investor Mark Stevens last night was beyond unacceptable and has no place in our league."

"As the review of this matter continues, Mr. Stevens will not be permitted to attend NBA games.”LeBron James is FURIOUS at the Golden State Warriors part-owner who put his hands on Raptors star Kyle Lowry during Game 3 of the NBA Finals ... saying, "Privilege Ain't Welcome Here."

The original incident took place during the 4th quarter -- when Lowry dove into the stands to try and save a loose ball, and Warriors part-owner Mark Stevens shoved Lowry while he was still down. 

Lowry was PISSED when he got up and called for officials to eject Stevens from the game. After the game, Lowry suggested Stevens should get a lifetime ban. 

Now, LeBron James has weighed in ... saying, "There’s absolutely no place in our BEAUTIFUL game for that AT ALL."

"When you sit courtside you absolutely know what comes with being on the floor and if you don’t know it’s on the back on the ticket itself that states the guidelines. But he himself being a fan but more importantly PART-OWNER of the Warriors knew exactly what he was doing which was so uncalled for."

"He knew the rules more than just the average person sitting watching the game courtside so for that Something needs to be done ASAP! A swift action for his actions."

LeBron continued ... "Just think to yourself, what if [Kyle Lowry] would have reacted and put his hands back on him. You guys would be going CRAZY!! Calling for him to damn near be put in jail let alone being suspended for the rest of the Finals all because he was protected himself."

"I’ve been quite throughout the whole NBA playoffs watching every game (haven’t missed one) but after I saw what I saw last night, took time to let it manifest into my thinking I couldn’t and wouldn’t be quiet on this! #ProtectThePlayers#PrivilegeAintWelcomeHere"

For their part, the Warriors claim they're investigating the incident and say Stevens will not attend ANY of the remaining NBA Finals games. 

FYI, Stevens -- a prominent venture capitalist -- joined the Warriors ownership group in 2013. 

Originally Published -- 9:58 AM PT

Matt Barnes Laughs His Ass Off ... Over Paul Pierce's Wheelchair Admission

6/6/2019 7:31 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Matt Barnes thinks it's FUNNY AS HELL that Paul Pierce used a wheelchair to take a dump in that infamous 2008 NBA Finals game ... telling TMZ Sports, "That's funny as a mother f*cker."

If ya missed it ... Pierce came clean on ESPN's Finals pregame show Wednesday night about why he needed a wheelchair to get off the court in that Celtics-Lakers series, saying, "I just had to go to the bathroom."

When we got Barnes out in Hollywood just hours later ... he couldn't stop laughing at Pierce's revelation.

"I never knew why he went out like he got shot and he came back like Superman, I was just like damn," Barnes says ... "But, he sh*tted. That's crazy. It takes a hell of a man to admit that sh*t, though, man."

"That's funny as a mother f*cker."

As for how Barnes would have handled the crappy situation? He tells us he definitely wouldn't have used a wheelchair to get to the toilet ...

"I would have slid on my ass all the way back to the locker room. Hopefully, I didn't make a streak on the court."

#Gross.

Lance Stephenson Kobe Bryant Mentoring Lakers 'Always Comes To Practice'

6/3/2019 10:01 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Don't worry, Lakers fans -- things may be a dumpster fire right now, but you still have Kobe Bryant ... 'cause Lance Stephenson tells TMZ Sports the Black Mamba is mentoring the team!!

There's been a lot of drama around the Lake Show lately ... from failed coaching searches, Magic Johnson quitting and bombshell reports of dysfunction in the front office.

Despite all the noise, Stephenson says he's confident the Lakers are legit contenders next season ... and it might have to do with the 5-time champ hangin' around.

We asked if Bryant has taken on a mentoring role with the team during retirement ... and Stephenson said "definitely, he always comes to practice."

There have been reports that Kobe is also trying to lure Kyrie Irving to sign with the Purple & Gold this offseason ... so even in retirement, the dude's putting in work.

Rest assured, Laker Nation ... you're still in good hands.

BONUS -- we also asked Lance about teaming back up with Frank Vogel ... and he's got nothing but love for his old coach.

Magic Johnson 'Bullying' Allegations Are BS

5/28/2019 4:53 PM PDT
Breaking News

Magic Johnson is strongly refuting an ESPN report that he bullied Lakers staffers during his time as an exec with the organization -- saying, "it never happened."

Just hours after ESPN published the bombshell report, Magic appeared on SportsCenter to address it, explaining that if the allegations were true, he would've been called into Jeanie Buss' office to deal with the incidents.

"Do you think Jeanie Buss would allow me to abuse the employees?" Magic said. "If that was the case, she would've called me in."

Instead, Johnson says he was never informed about such issues and believes the allegations in the report are not based in reality.

"I'm a person who brings everybody together, uplifting employees. I never abused an employee and I never will. That's not what I'm about."

As we previously reported, the ESPN article cites multiple unnamed Lakers staffers who claim Magic would berate employees and essentially created a hostile work environment 

After the report was published, we spoke with Dodgers star Justin Turner, who says he never had any such experience working for Magic, who is a co-owner of the MLB team.

Magic Johnson Crashes LAPD Roll Call ... 'It Made Our Day!'

5/28/2019 2:32 PM PDT
Exclusive Details

So, a bunch of LAPD officers were conducting roll call in Sherman Oaks, California on Tuesday -- when all of a sudden Magic Johnson walks out of a supermarket and starts high-fiving the cops! 

It all went down in front of a Gelson's -- where cops from the Van Nuys station met up for their morning briefing before hitting the streets. 

Magic had been inside the store doing some shopping and had no idea the cops would be gathering that morning ... but we're told once he saw the officers he dropped everything to go hang out. 

One source tells us he chatted up everyone, thanked them for their service and posed for a bunch of pics. 

As one officer put it, "It made our day!"

And get this, despite an ESPN report that came out Tuesday morning which painted Magic as a "bully" during his time as an exec with the Lakers, he didn't seem fazed ... we're told he was in a great mood and couldn't have been nicer

We reached out to Magic for comment who told us he had a "great time" with the men and women in blue. 

Dodgers' Justin Turner Goes to Bat for Magic Johnson ... Not a 'Bully' to Me!

5/28/2019 1:23 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Magic Johnson doesn't have a reputation as a "bully" in the Dodgers organization -- at least according to Justin Turner who tells TMZ Sports, "He's been great to me."

Johnson has been under fire over an ESPN report which dove into the dysfunction within the L.A. Lakers organization -- it painted Magic as a jerk who would often berate his staff. 

One staffer told ESPN, "He used intimidation and bullying as a way of showing authority."

Since Magic is co-owner of the L.A. Dodgers -- we asked Turner if he's had any similar experiences with his boss. 

"I love Magic," the Dodgers 3rd baseman said at Philippe's restaurant in L.A. ... "Been great to me."

Turner was doing a promotional event at Philippe's -- which is an L.A. institution because it was opened back in 1908 by Philippe Mathieu, the guy who claims he invented the French Dipped Sandwich!!!

So, the takeaway from this story ... JT loves Magic and if you're in L.A., GO TO PHILIPPE'S AND GET THAT BOMB-ASS FRENCH DIP! 

Lamar Odom Brothel Owner Tried to Kill Me ... In 2015 Incident

5/28/2019 9:03 AM PDT
Breaking News

9:32 AM PT -- We spoke with Odom on the way out of "The View" and asked him why he thinks Hof tried to kill him. Odom says he's still trying to find the answers. 

9:03 AM PT -- Lamar Odom claims the late owner of the Nevada brothel where he OD'd in 2015 tried to kill him ... and Odom says his legal team already has proof to back up his claim.

Odom just appeared on "The View" where he said Dennis Hof -- who owned the Love Ranch -- "tried to kill me."

Long story short ... Odom is adamant he did not intentionally consume any drugs -- including cocaine -- on the day of his overdose and he believes Hof (or someone working for Hof) poisoned him. 

"Dennis Hof, I don't know what he had against me but I didn't do drugs that night," Odom said.

"I don't  know what he had against me ... he tried to kill me."

Odom says his attorney has already investigated the allegation and found workers at the brothel who back up his claim. 

Hof died in October 2018 -- but in 2016, he told TMZ Sports he was a fan of Odom and invited him back to the Love Ranch for the VIP treatment. 

We've reached out to Hof's reps regarding Odom's attempted murder claim -- but so far, no comment. 

As we previously reported, police who investigated the 2015 overdose say prostitutes at the Love Ranch told them they had heard Odom snorting substances before the OD and had a "vague knowledge of him using illegal narcotics."

Investigators later confirmed the presence of cocaine in Odom's system -- but clearly, Odom says he did NOT knowingly take drugs that night.

Lamar Odom says he believes his wild life story is fit for the big screen -- and he's already had talks about turning his new autobiography into a movie. 

Odom was arriving to "The View" in New York on Tuesday to promote his new book, "Darkness to Light" -- in which he talks about everything from drug addiction to sex addiction to his failed marriage with Khloe Kardashian

Odom says he's already spoken with people about turning his story into a movie but didn't say who those talks were with. 

He's not wrong ... Odom went from being an NBA superstar to a reality star before hitting rock bottom ... when he overdosed at a Nevada brothel in 2015. 

Odom suffered several strokes and heart attacks and doctors didn't think he'd fully recover. 

But, Odom beat the odds and now he's getting ready to play professional basketball again with the BIG3 league. 

It's an amazing story ... and it seems like it's only a matter of time before it gets the full-length feature film treatment. 

Originally Published -- 8:23 AM PT

LeBron James My New Rare Nikes ... The Fear Of God!!!

5/28/2019 8:12 AM PDT
Breaking News

Reason #2361230 why it's great to be LeBron James?? Flexin' on your superstar friends with the hottest shoes on the market ... before they even hit the market.

Nike's billion-dollar man hosted some of his closest NBA-star friends, like Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul and Tristan Thompson at his L.A. home for a Memorial Day Weekend bash ... and naturally, had to show off one time.

The bright green shoes on his feet in the pic above are the Nike Fear of God 1's in the Frosted Spruce colorway ... and they don't come out 'til this weekend -- but somehow, Bron got the hookup. 

When they're available to the non-superstar public, they'll retail at $350, but good luck trying to get them for that price. They're expected to go for AT LEAST $1,000 on the secondary market. 

FYI -- the original Nike FOG 1 colorway sold out within seconds when they went on sale late last year ... and these are expected to go just as fast. 

As for the bro sesh ... it had everything you could ask for -- vibing to Nipsey Hussle, drinking adult beverages, smokin' cigars and watching "The Godfather" on repeat.

Dwight Howard On Lakers Drama ... 'It's Just Business'

5/28/2019 6:33 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Ex-Lakers player Dwight Howard doesn't think the drama in LakerLand is a big deal -- in fact, he thinks it's all being blown out of proportion because "it's just business."

We got Dwight leaving Catch in West Hollywood over the weekend -- and had to ask him if saw any Lakers front office dysfunction during his 1 season stint with the team in 2012-13. 

"It's part of basketball," Howard told us ... "It's just business. Not drama. It's just business."

In other words, Howard doesn't seem too shocked by the situation in L.A. -- almost like he's seen stuff like this with other organizations too and Dwight would know ... he's played for 6 teams. 

We also asked Howard about the back injury that sidelined him for most of last season -- and he told us things are on the upswing. 

"It's solid. I'll be good ... just continue to get right."

Howard only played 9 games this season before undergoing season-ending spinal surgery to relieve pain in his glutes.  

He's only 33 years old and recently exercised his option to play another season with the Washington Wizards. 

Jay WIlliams Lakers Are Kardashians of NBA

5/28/2019 9:20 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

The L.A. Lakers might as well start sellin' lip kits and flat tummy tea, 'cause Jay Williams says there's so much drama surrounding LeBron's team, he's dubbing them "the Kardashians of the NBA."

And, he ain't saying it as a compliment.

It's been a dumpster fire of an offseason for the Lakers ... with Magic Johnson going scorched earth on Rob Pelinka and accusing him of some old fashioned backstabbery. They fired Luke Walton and struggled to get a replacement coach.

And, of course, Lonzo Ball has Big Baller Brand drama. 

Williams says things in LakerLand have gotten so bad, the team is starting to resemble the Kar-Jenners more than an NBA organization.

"I feel like we talk about everything but their on-court play ... that's kind of a signature of a lot of drama."

Williams says he still doesn't understand Magic's reasoning behind leaving the team ... and the very public breakup is gonna have players second-guessing whether they wanna be around that come free agency.

LeBron James' lip kit would be dope though ... 

LeBron James Bro Hugs It Out W/ Tristan Thompson After Lakers' Rough Month

5/22/2019 6:52 AM PDT
Breaking News

LeBron James clearly needs a little TLC after his Lakers continue to implode around him ... and seems he's gettin' it from an old buddy -- Tristan Thompson!!!

LBJ was out in L.A. on Tuesday night celebrating his John Elliott x LeBron James clothing launch ... and Tristan was there to back his friend -- in more ways than one.

LeBron's Lakers have been a disaster the past few weeks -- they botched their coaching search and Magic Johnson quit -- so TT stopped by and helped comfort The King.

The two shared a big embrace inside of the store ... and seems it helped cheer up LeBron -- who was caught dancing at the DJ booth moments later!!! 

Of course, all the bro hugs in the world ain't exactly going to fix the Lakers' issues -- they still need a superstar to join up with Bron this summer and they've gotta make sure their new coaching staff works.

But hey, in the meantime, at least LBJ's new kicks (releasing to the public this week) are fire!!!!

Rob Pelinka Denies Backstabbing Magic Johnson ... 'Simply Not True'

5/20/2019 11:24 AM PDT
Breaking News

Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka is adamant he did NOT betray Magic Johnson and trash the NBA legend behind his back ... saying allegations are "simply not true."

Pelinka was asked about the situation moments ago while introducing new Lakers head coach Frank Vogel ... just hours after Magic put Pelinka on blast during an ESPN interview. 

Johnson said he was upset at Pelinka because he found out Rob had been bashing him in and out of NBA circles ... saying Magic's work ethic sucked and he was barely in the Lakers office. 

So, what's Rob's response? He took a cue from Shaggy ... IT WASN'T ME!

"Surprising to hear and disheartening," Pelinka said ... "Simply not true."

Pelinka says he stands with Magic as a colleague and a partner and wants to speak with Magic in person to clear everything up. 

Pelinka says he was surprised to see Magic make the allegations on TV because they have spoken several times since Magic left the Lakers and Rob thought they were on good terms. 

Yeah, not so much ... 

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