Shaq tied to police investigation involving gang members, sex tape

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Shaquille O’Neal is out of basketball but he is still making headlines. And not the kind you want if you are trying to land a television (or law enforcement) gig for next season….

Shaq has been tied to a police investigation about a man being kidnapped and beaten in 2008 by Los Angeles gang members trying to find a sex tape involving Shaq where the woman was not his wife at the time Shaunie, according to TMZ.

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ … Ladell Rowles — a member of the Main Street Mafia Crip Gang in L.A. who is friends with Shaq — along with 6 other members went on a search and destroy mission in L.A. on February 11, 2008. They believed a man named Robert Ross had the sex tape (involving Shaq) and they tried getting it back with the help of a gun or two.

According to the police report, the 7 gang members met up with Ross at a convenience store — Pink Dot — on the Sunset Strip. The men allegedly surrounded Ross’ Rolls Royce Phantom with guns drawn, jumped into Ross’ car and ordered him to drive to Rowles’ house in South Central L.A.

Once there, Rowles allegedly pistol whipped Ross and demanded that he turn over the sex tape. Ross said he would get the tape and bring it back to them. The 7 men then allegedly took Ross’ Rolex, diamond chain and earrings, along with $15,000 in cash — then let Ross go.

The 7 men have been arrested and charged with robbery, kidnapping and other crimes. They are currently in the middle of a preliminary hearing and being held in jail.

Shaq has not been charged with any crime in this case nor do we know if he had knowledge of the alleged actions of the gang members.

TMZ has a whole lot more ugly details, however. Ross apparently had a deal with Shaq that if Ross brought artists to Shaq for his record label profits would be split down the middle. Ross says he delivered Ray J to Shaq but got no money for it. So, Ross was using the tape to essentially blackmail Shaq into giving him his money. (He has the alleged tape because of a security camera at Ross’ home where the act took place.)

Ross also claims to have had an affair with Shaq’s ex-Shaunie.

Ugly.

If I can wish for one thing to happen in this case, it’s not to have the sex tape exist or be released. The thought of a Shaq sex tape is making me throw up in my mouth a little.

Report: Suns to waive Austin Rivers, who becomes unrestricted free agent

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The Phoenix Suns need a ball handling guard to go next to Devin Booker, so when they picked up Austin Rivers as part of the Trevor Ariza trade with Washington it made some sense. Rivers is a below replacement level NBA player (who has been serviceable the past couple of seasons), but that’s an upgrade over what the Suns had.

Except Rivers didn’t want to be part of the rebuild in Phoenix. In an unusual and unexpected move, the Suns have agreed to waive him, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

It’s an odd move on a few levels. Why didn’t Rivers want to stay in a place the ball would be in his hands more, giving himself a chance to build up his value before free agency next summer? Why didn’t the Suns first try to shop him around and offer to take on another team’s bad/dead contract if they got a pick or other asset? (Rivers can’t be packaged with another player in a trade but he can be moved straight up.)

Finally, how much demand is there among good teams for Rivers, even on a minimum contract?

Rivers, the son of Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers, is in his seventh NBA season. Rivers is averaging 7.2 points per game on 39.2 percent shooting this season.

It’s an odd move. Without Rivers Suns will keep leaning on rookie De'Anthony Melton as a potential future backcourt mate with Booker and hope he develops into something.

Bulls’ Kris Dunn shoves Russell Westbrook, scuffle breaks out (VIDEO)

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Russell Westbrook has a way of getting under an opponent’s skin.

Monday night it was the Bulls’ Kris Dunn‘s turn.

While moving over in position on the strong side, Westbrook and Dunn made contact, and after the whistle blew for a foul (with the ball handler), Westbrook made a grand gesture of pushing Dunn off him. Dunn responded with an outsized shove. And then it was on.

There’s more stuff to break down here than the Zapruder film.

• Jeremi Grant of the Thunder came in and tried to go at Dunn a little, in front of Westbrook (protect the star).

Bobby Portis tried to slide Grant out of the way, but…

Robin Lopez came in and went at Grant getting in his face, so Grant basically throws Lopez into the first row.

• Which just made Lopez even madder, leading to a meme-worthy angry face.

• Bulls’ coach Jim Boylen gets Grant in a headlock and pulls him out of the situation.

Steven Adams calmly makes sure Portis is out of the picture, then walks back over to Lopez and then Adams and Lopez get separated.

• In the end, the officials handed out for technicals: Westbrook, Dunn, Grant, and Lopez.

A few minutes later, Lopez blocked a Grant shot, decided to taunt him, and that got Lopez a second technical and he was tossed (Lopez is a veteran, he has to know the officials are going to call everything tight at that point). Watch Adams pat Lopez on the back as the Bulls’ big man makes the walk to the locker room.

James Harden scores 47, including sinking dagger into Jazz (VIDEO)

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Utah and Houston met in a battle of the disappointing early season Western teams — predicted by most to finish 2/3 in the West, they came into the night 10th and 13th — and in the tight West these kinds of games matter.

So James Harden turned it up a notch.

The reigning MVP looked every bit that guys scoring 47 points and adding six rebounds, five assists, and five steals in what was a Houston win, 102-97. It was Harden that sank the dagger into Utah.

That’s four wins in a row for Houston as they try to climb out of the hole they dug themselves early this season.

Taj Gibson helps defend drive with one shoe on, one shoe in his hand (VIDEO)

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In the first quarter Monday night, Timberwolves veteran Taj Gibson was working in the post on the Kings’ Nemanja Bjelica, Gibson got the bucket but lost his shoe.

He picked it up, ran to the other end with one shoe in hand, and then defended a Bjelica drive well enough that Karl-Anthony Towns would come over and get the block on the play.

Somehow, Tom Thibodeau is going to get credit for this new defensive style.