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Sports
Report: Four teams have held meetings with LeBron James’ agent
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Report: Four teams have held meetings with LeBron James’ agent

Report: Four teams have held meetings with LeBron James’ agent
The Heat’s LeBron James wouldn’t deal Sunday night with questions about whether he will opt out of his contract. “Me and my team will sit down and deal with it. I love Miami. My family loves it. But obviously right now that’s not even what I’m thinking about.” (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Report: Four teams have held meetings with LeBron James’ agent

There seems to be a lot riding on Heat president Pat Riley’s trip to California.

Riley and coach Erik Spoelstra flew west Thursday to meet with prospective free agents, and the success of that venture could have a major impact on whether LeBron James stays in Miami.

James has been on vacation, but ESPN reported that his agent, Rich Paul, has been hearing pitches in Cleveland. The Rockets, Mavericks, Suns and Cavaliers all delivered presentations.

An anonymous official from one of those teams told Yahoo! Sports that James “seems ready to explore the market” if he is not content with whom Riley recruits, though another team employee who was in Cleveland believed it was “all a smoke screen” to apply more pressure on the Heat.

Late Thursday, Yahoo! reported that Paul said LeBron would meet personally with teams if Riley did not do enough to improve the Heat.

Riley is likely to meet with several Los Angeles-based players and agents this weekend and appears to be recruiting longtime star Pau Gasol. Riley also might be in the market for forward Trevor Ariza and others. Gasol, who averaged 17.4 points and 9.7 rebounds per game last season, arguably would be the best player Miami has put alongside the Big Three since they joined forces in 2010.

Other than that, there do not seem to be many splashy moves left for Riley to make. Toronto point guard Kyle Lowry, possibly the most attractive free agent beyond Carmelo Anthony and Miami’s Big Three, agreed to re-sign with the Raptors at $48 million over four years. It appeared as though the Heat never got a meeting with Lowry, and his choice came down to Toronto or Houston.

Riley has not commented publicly on any free agents, so it is difficult to ascertain how much of a priority Lowry was. Either way, Riley has yet to solidify any deals as he hunts for additions that will satisfy James.

Yahoo! also reported that one person who sat down with Paul got the impression that there is “a breakdown in communication” among the Big Three. That likely refers to finances, given the multiple reports that James is looking for the maximum salary while Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade are expected to take pay cuts from what they were slated to make in the next two seasons.

There has been no word from James publicly regarding his plans, and he was noncommittal about every facet of his free agency when he last spoke to the media June 17. It appears he has not met face-to-face with any teams.

That could change depending on what happens this weekend. Yahoo! reported that some organizations could be invited to meet directly with James early next week.

Phoenix was one of the teams supposedly trying to lure James and Anthony to play together, though Anthony has not visited the Suns and is not expected to. He finished his highly publicized recruiting tour with the Lakers and Knicks on Thursday.

ESPN reported that if Anthony is out of play, Phoenix would make a run at Bosh instead. Bosh has reiterated for months that he intends to stay with the Heat.

For James, returning to Cleveland would be a shocker considering the way his departure from the team went in 2010 and the current state of its roster. Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert posted a letter on the team website torching James and describing his move to Miami as “cowardly betrayal.”

The Cavs organization seems to have partially made amends with James over the past few years, and he returned to Cleveland during the season to attend the jersey retirement ceremony of former teammate Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

If James were to leave Miami he would be gambling on the unknown rather than putting his trust in Riley.

Riley has been a winner with three organizations in his three-plus decades as a coach or executive, and surrounded James with a strong enough cast to reach the NBA Finals four times in four years. James had never won a championship before leading the Heat to back-to-back titles in 2012 and ’13.

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  • Tulsa police Thursday released video of an incident in which an officer used his patrol car to end a gunfight. Madison Dickson was the suspect in a string of violent crimes that spanned nearly a week when she was spotted in a vehicle near 91st and Harvard last Saturday. She tried to run, and gunfire is heard on the video, which officers say was directed toward them. The officer swerves left as she points the gun at him, then veers right and runs her over as she attempts to flee. Additional videos released to media by TPD indicate an officer also used a Taser on Dickson after she was down, because she still had the gun and wasn’t responding to commands. “She might not be able to, hang on,” one officer says as others are yelling at her to show her hands. EMSA arrived on the scene a few minutes later, but Dickson died from her injuries.
  • After hours of negotiations that featured personal intervention by President Donald Trump, Republican leaders in the Congress were forced to back off a planned vote on a GOP health care bill, unable to find enough votes approve it and send it on to the Senate for further work. While House leaders said votes were possible on Friday, there was no final agreement to vote on, as more conservative members of the House Freedom Caucus refused to get on board with a deal offered by the White House. “We have not gotten enough of our members to get to yes,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), the chair of the Freedom Caucus. “I am still a no at this time,” Meadows told a crush of reporters. “I am desperately trying to get to yes.” Rep. Mark Meadows: “I am still a no at this time. I am desperately trying to get to yes” https://t.co/cQi0OGdJGY — CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) March 23, 2017 Other Freedom Caucus members said very little as they exited a Congressional hearing room after a two hour meeting on the health bill, leaving Meadows to get out the message. “No comment,” said Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL). “Mark’s got everything,” referring to Meadows. “You know I’m not going express the substance of anything that we talked about in there,” said Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) said as reporters trailed him down the hall. Earlier at the White House, there had been optimism after a meeting between Freedom Caucus members and the President. Lengthy standing ovation from the Freedom Caucus when @POTUS walked into the Cabinet Room just now. Big momentum toward #RepealAndReplace. pic.twitter.com/N1FLGAVFMN — Cliff Sims (@CSims45) March 23, 2017 But, there was no deal.
  • Conservative Republicans opposed to the health care reform bill offered by their leadership have forced a delay in a vote on the measure, which was expected to happen Thursday. House GOP leadership announced they will push the vote back about 2:30 Central Time after a flurry of meetings between Republican members of the Freedom Caucus, moderates pushing the plan, and the White House. The delay is seen as a rebuke of the Trump administration, which has brought pressure to bear in an attempt to bring those more conservative members on board. Those Republicans opposed to the bill in its current form generally want deeper cuts in spending on the program. Some have called it “Obamacare Light,” and say it doesn’t offer enough substantial changes to current law. Those in favor of the bill argue it eliminates the mandate, and puts choice back in the hands of consumers. There’s no official announcement on when House Speaker Paul Ryan might try to reschedule a vote.
  • The CEO of a Connecticut-based marketing firm says job applicants must pass what he has dubbed the “snowflake test” before he will hire them.  In an interview with Stuart Varney on the Fox Business Network, Silent Partner Marketing CEO Kyle Reyes defined a snowflake as “somebody who is going to whine and complain and come to the table with nothing but an entitled attitude and an inability to back their perspective.” Some of the questions on the test include a job candidate’s position and beliefs on America, guns, and police. Reyes said he’s not worried about discrimination lawsuits because he believes the test is really just the same kind of personality assessment that companies do routinely in job interviews. He says roughly 60-percent of applicants have not passed his test. Click here to see the whole “Snowflake Test”.
  • A Tulsa parent is speaking out after she says her daughter had a birth control implant embedded into her arm during a trip from school. >> Read more trending news  Miracle Foster says her parental rights were violated. It all started when her 16-year-old daughter attended a Youth Services of Tulsa lecture about sex education at Langston Hughes Academy. After one of the sessions, the teen and other girls reportedly said they wanted to learn more, and the school arranged for Youth Services of Tulsa to pick them up and take them to a clinic. Rodney L. Clark, the school's principal, says he called Foster to get permission to allow her daughter to go on the trip before they left. Foster says that her daughter then received a three-year Norplant implant at the clinic without her parental consent. Representatives from Youth Services of Tulsa say they do not have to tell a parent about any contraceptives given to minors. Title X federal guidelines allows for teens as young as 12 to receive various forms of contraceptives without a parent's consent. They also said they merely inform and transport teens to the clinics of their choice. They are not involved in the conversations between the teens and the physicians at theses clinics. Foster told FOX23 that she feels that she and her daughter should have had the opportunity to discuss what's best for her.  Clark released a statement Wednesday:  'This was not a field trip. Youth Services of Tulsa does an annual in-service on Sex Education. They offer students an opportunity to contact them on their own for more information. The parent gave her child permission to leave the school. Under Title X once young people are at the clinic and are of reproductive age, they can make decisions on their own without parental consent. As you can understand this situation involves a minor and we do not release information about students. Nevertheless, the student was well within their rights of Title X which is a federal guideline that provides reduced cost family planning services to persons of all reproductive age.