LeBron James’ agent Rich Paul meets with Rockets, Mavs, Suns and Cavs

LeBron Is LeBron James serious about leaving the Miami Heat in free agency? It seems like he is at least willing to listen to what other teams have to offer.

According to a report from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein, LeBron’s agent Rich Paul has been meeting with teams this week to hear their pitches on signing LeBron. The report says Paul has met with the Rockets, Mavericks, Suns and Cavaliers.

The report about the Suns pursuing James was already published Wednesday. Phoenix is making a push to sign either Chris Bosh or Carmelo Anthony in addition to LeBron.

Working off the ESPN report, Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski says three teams could return to Cleveland next week to present to LeBron and Paul. LeBron has been vacationing with his family and taking in the World Cup.

Woj also reports that LeBron is not on the same page as Bosh and Dwyane Wade:

ESPN’s Chris Broussard has been reporting the same thing.

I still believe LeBron will end up back with Miami. My guess is that they leaked this news in order to scare the Heat/Pat Riley into making a big move.

Dirk Hayhurst implies David Price and Evan Longoria are potheads

Evan-Longorioa-David-Price-Reid-Brignac-RobbedFormer MLB pitcher turned broadcaster/writer Dirk Hayhurst wrote a column about the popularity of marijuana throughout MLB and, in the article, he implied there are several potheads on the Tampa Bay Rays.

Hayhurst’s column was inspired by Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan’s recent column about the disparity between drug punishments for MLB and minor league players. Passan’s argument is that because of the lax drug penalties on MLB players, minor leaguers who love weed can smoke their way onto a 40-man roster. It’s a really interesting read.

In response, Hayhurst wrote on Sports on Earth about how widespread marijuana is and has been throughout MLB. Here’s a sampling of what he had to say:

As far back as I can remember, players were getting high. Guys in the minors, on or off the 40-man, would take apples from the locker-room spread, hollow them out and then sneak behind dumpsters and smoke an apple pipe. In Triple-A, the now-defunct Portland Beavers would hide in stadium supply tunnels doing the old puff-puff-pass before jumping a knuckleball fight over the Rocky Mountains. I’ve even seen coaches toking up with their players.

You really should read the whole thing to get the full flavor, but that’s a nice sampling.

Anyway, Hayhurst then decided to share a story about a time when he was in spring training with a team and a group of players got robbed. All of the details point to a 2011 robbery involving three Rays players.

Hayhurst was a spring training invitee of the Rays in 2011. In March 2011, a Port Charlotte home being rented by Evan Longoria, David Price and Reid Brignac was robbed.

The Tampa Bay Times says police estimated $56,000 in valuables were stolen, including “a 60-inch flat-screen TV, three iPads, two Xbox game systems, cash, Price’s laptop and several of Price’s fancy watches.” It later came out that Longoria had an AK47 stolen as well.

Now here’s what Hayhurst wrote. See if it matches up with the robbery story.

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Steve Spurrier claims he has never lost a round of golf to a player

Steve-Spurrier-South-CarolinaWhen Steve Spurrier isn’t coaching football, he likes to get out on the golf course. They say the Ole Ball Coach has gotten pretty good at hitting the little white ball around over the years. In fact, Spurrier is such a good golfer that he has supposedly never been beaten by one of his players in over 30 years of coaching.

As ESPN.com’s David M. Hale revealed in a recent feature about college football coaches who have a love for the links, Spurrier only gives players one shot to challenge his undefeated record. The last player to give the 69-year-old a scare was former South Carolina kicker Ryan Succop, who now plays for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Succop is a very good golfer himself, and Spurrier knew that when he challenged him. That’s why Spurrier intentionally set the match for right after spring practices ended. While the OBC had already gotten out to play a few rounds, Succop had no time in his busy schedule to practice.

“You have to pick your sports when you play someone who’s a lot better than you,” Spurrier admitted.

Succop shot a 79 and still lost to Spurrier, who shot a 77 on what he described as one of his best days. And like every loser before him, Succop never got a shot at revenge.

“All of them say, ‘Coach, when are we going to play again?’” Spurrier added. “And I say, ‘No, no, you had your chance.’”

If that’s not classic Ole Ball Coach, I don’t know what is.

H/T College Football Talk

Mark Mulder watches ‘Moneyball’ for first time, adds great commentary

Mark MulderFormer Oakland A’s all-star pitcher Mark Mulder on Wednesday watched “Moneyball” the movie for the first time, and he decided to add some amazing insight via Twitter.

Mulder, who went 81-42 over five seasons with the A’s, has expressed some skepticism over the movie in the past. Apparently Tim Hudson couldn’t believe that he hadn’t seen it, so he decided to watch finally and share his opinions.

The result was some fantastic running commentary. Below are his tweets:

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OKC Thunder the frontrunner to sign Pau Gasol?

Pau GasolHave the Oklahoma City Thunder emerged as the frontrunner to sign Pau Gasol?

Gasol is a top free agent and has been talking with teams since free agency began at midnight Tuesday. He met with the Lakers and is set to meet with the Chicago Bulls on Thursday. Even the Miami Heat have spoken with him. But another contender may be the favorite to sign him.

ESPN LA’s Ramona Shelburne says a source described the Thunder as the “frontrunner” to sign the forward. Earlier, Marc Stein reported that the Thunder had engaged both Gasol and Mike Miller since the start of free agency. Stein also says Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook met with Gasol Wednesday in LA to pitch him directly.

The Lakers appear pretty desperate to re-sign Gasol, as he is one of their top priorities. The Warriors and Mavericks have also reached out to Gasol.

Oklahoma City already has Durant, Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins taking up a big chunk of their salary cap, so they don’t have a whole lot to offer. But if Gasol likes their presentation and team, he might have to think about taking a lot less to help them win, or the team could give him a solid deal in a sign-and-trade.

As stated before, it’s nice for Gasol to be empowered for a change after facing all the trade rumors the past several years with the Lakers. Oh, and that picture at the top is of Pau telling the Lakers “peace.”

Report: MLB allowed Alex Rodriguez to use PEDs during 2007 MVP season

Alex Rodriguez YankeesAlex Rodriguez was reportedly granted permission to use performance-enhancing drugs by Major League Baseball during the 2007 season. The revelation comes via an excerpt from the new book “Blood Sport: Alex Rodriguez, Biogenesis and the Quest to End Baseball’s Steroid Era.”

A section of the book, which was written by Tim Elfrink and Gus Garcia-Roberts, explains how A-Rod was given an exemption to use testosterone throughout the entire 2007 season. He belted 54 home runs, drove in a career-high 156 RBI and batted .314 that season en route to winning the American League MVP Award. Here’s an explanation of how it went down, via Sports Illustrated:

Under baseball’s performance-enhancing drug policy, players can apply for a so-called therapeutic use exemption (TUE) to take certain medical substances otherwise banned by MLB. A doctor appointed by both sides—the independent program administrator (IPA) — reviews all applications. Baseball also has an expert medical panel to advise the IPA. If an exemption is granted, the player cannot be punished for using that substance. The exemption is good for one year.

Before the 2007 season, Rodriguez asked for permission to use testosterone, which has been banned by baseball since 2003. The IPA in ’07 was Bryan W. Smith, a High Point, N.C., physician. (Baseball did not yet have the advisory medical panel.) On Feb. 16, 2007, two days before Rodriguez reported to spring training, Smith granted the exemption, allowing Rodriguez to use testosterone all season.

The book goes on to explain how rare testosterone exemptions are, with players more commonly being granted TUE’s to use banned substances like Adderall. In 2007, 111 of the 1,354 players who were subject to drug testing were granted TUE’s. Rodriguez was one of only two players who was allowed to use “androgen efficiency medications,” or testosterone.

The entire excerpt is very much worth reading. A-Rod has allegedly applied for several more exemptions throughout his career, and some have been granted. He also admitted to using steroids from 2001-2003, which means Rodriguez has likely been using PEDs throughout much of his career. Shocking, I know.

Also see: A-Rod reportedly asked for girl’s number in stands during playoff game
Also see: Chelsea Handler said she called Alex Rodriguez a ‘f—ing a–hole’ to his face
Also see: Alex Rodriguez drops lawsuits against MLB, Bud Selig, MLBPA

Claude Giroux arrested for ‘repeatedly grabbing buttocks of male police officer’

Claude-Giroux-FlyersPhiladelphia Flyers star Claude Giroux was reportedly arrested in Ottawa, Canada on Tuesday night when he allegedly got a little handsy with a police officer. And by handsy, we mean Giroux has been accused of grabbing the buttocks of a male officer multiple times.

Danielle Bell of the Ottawa Sun has some of the details:

Although few details were immediately available, a source said Giroux was arrested for repeatedly grabbing the buttocks of a male police officer. Alcohol is believed to have been involved.

A witness and sources say the incident occurred outside The Great Canadian Cabin in the Byward Market club district. They say officers were inside the bar when one officer had his butt grabbed by a patron. The officer told the patron not to behave like that, but was grabbed again. At that point, the patron was taken outside and arrested. The officer involved did not initially recognize Giroux.

Giroux reportedly spent the night in jail, but he is expected to be released on Wednesday without any criminal charges. Hopefully the 26-year-old will only need to be told once the next time he’s grabbing a cop’s butt without permission.

Giroux was third in the NHL in total points last season after scoring 28 goals and notching 58 assists. The Flyers said they are aware of the situation but will withhold comment until more information is known.

H/T Deadspin