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Chad Johnson lobbied to stay with the Dolphins

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Chad Johnson lobbied to stay with the Dolphins

From Comcast SportsNet
DAVIE, Fla. (AP) -- Chad Johnson briefly lobbied in vain to keep his job when he was cut by Miami Dolphins coach Joe Philbin. The six-time Pro Bowl receiver failed to make the case, and after bidding Philbin farewell with a handshake, he walked out of the Dolphins' complex for good. The scene was captured on the latest episode of HBO's "Hard Knocks," which is chronicling the Dolphins' preseason. They terminated Johnson's contract Sunday night, about 24 hours after he was arrested in a domestic battery case involving his wife, Evelyn Lozada. She subsequently announced plans to file for divorce, ending their marriage after barely a month. Johnson met with Philbin in the coach's office, and their conversation was brief. Johnson noted that he had been scolded earlier by the coach for a profanity-laced session with reporters, and had not done an interview since. "Coach, I've never been in trouble before. Ever," said Johnson, who signed with the Dolphins in June. "And I buy into your program, most definitely. Because after that talk we had, I was hushed from that point on. And I was going stay that way the entire year." Regarding his arrest, Johnson said: "I let you down a little bit. A lot. I apologize for embarrassing you, and our organization, my teammates." But Philbin's mind was made up. "It's not really just (Saturday) night," he said. "It's where we are as a program, and where you are, and where we're headed. I just don't see the mesh right now. ... "I just think it's best for both of us that we kind of part ways at this point in time. It's not like I'm trying to flex my muscle to say, I'm the head coach, and let's make an example of Chad Johnson.' It has nothing to do with that. "It's more about how you fit in, and how we fit in together, and where this thing is heading. I just don't see it being where I thought it would be, or what I hoped it would be. I'm sure it's not good news. It's not good news for us either. But I'm certain you can overcome this thing."

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Report suggests Barack Obama is trying to recruit Masai Ujiri to Wizards

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Report suggests Barack Obama is trying to recruit Masai Ujiri to Wizards

The Wizards are reportedly preparing to make Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri a massive offer to run Washington's NBA franchise. And they may have some big-time help recruiting him to D.C. 

Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States, is trying to persuade Ujiri to leave the NBA champions to join the Wizards, according to The Athletic's Ethan Strauss. 

"I hear Barack Obama's a part of that whole Masai recruitment to D.C.," Strauss said on a recent episode of the "Back To Back" podcast. "I've heard Obama wants Masai in D.C. Obama wants to do something with basketball."

Obama and Ujiri are close friends. Obama was in attendance at Game 2 of the NBA Finals in Toronto, while Ujiri attended the White House Correspondents' Dinner in 2015 when Obama was in office. 

The Wizards' potential offer for Ujiri is reportedly for six years, $60 million, and could possibly include an ownership stake in Monumental Sports & Entertainment and other responsibilities within the company, sources have told NBC Sports Washington. 

And hey, it doesn't hurt to have the former Commander in Chief making your sales pitch.

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Sekou Doumbouya visits Wizards hoping to sell them on his defense

Sekou Doumbouya visits Wizards hoping to sell them on his defense

WASHINGTON -- The Wizards hosted one of their final prospect workouts in anticipation of the June 20 NBA Draft on Friday, as six players battled in three-on-three drills with every member of Washington's front office and coaching staff in sight. But behind the glass wall of the dining lounge at the Wizards' practice facility at St. Elizabeth's was the player everyone wanted to see.

Sekou Doumbouya, who is projected to land in the lottery on draft night, made a visit to Washington to speak with Wizards personnel. He did not participate in the workout, but through face-to-face interviews gave the Wizards an up-close look at a player who may or may not be on the board when they are on the clock with the ninth overall pick.

Doumbouya is the youngest player in the draft at just 18 years old, with his birthday not until late December. He is originally from Guinea but played professional basketball in France. Given his age and the fact he played in a second-tier league before making the leap to the NBA, Doumbouya holds some mystery as a prospect.

In his meetings with teams, Doumbouya has tried to hammer home one point in particular.

"My defense," he said. "I can play everywhere [because] if you play defense, you can play everywhere in the league."

Defense certainly stands out when it comes to Doumbouya's potential. He is 6-foot-9 with a reported 7-foot-2 wingspan. At his age, he could keep growing. And at that size, he has the mobility to guard multiple positions, force turnovers and maybe even block some shots.

The Wizards need help with just about every area of their defense. They were 27th in defensive rating last season and 29th in points allowed. They couldn't defend the perimeter or the lane, allowing the fourth-highest three-point percentage (37%) and the fifth-most three-point makes (12.1/g), while also allowing more field goals within five feet of the rim than any team (22.1/g) and the third-highest percentage (64.2%) in that range. 

Doumbouya projects as the type of defensive anchor who could help in a variety of ways. He could step out to guard three-point shooters while also clogging lanes to the basket with his length.

The questions for Doumbouya center around how NBA-ready he is at his age and experience, and what his ceiling will ultimately be on the offensive end. Doumbouya, though, believes he can be especially effective in transition.

"Fastbreak," he said when listing his strengths. "I love running [the floor]."

Whether Doumbouya will be available at the ninth pick depends on who you ask. Most mock drafts have him at nine or lower, but his athleticism and versatility could entice a team that picks before the Wizards.

The Hawks, whom Doumbouya met with the day after seeing the Wizards, are a team to watch. They have the eighth, 10th and 17th picks in the first round, so they can afford to take a risk. They could snag Doumbouya at No. 8, then go with a safer pick or two with their other selections.

But there is a very good chance Doumbouya is the best player available when the Wizards get set to make their pick. If he does, defense will be his biggest selling point.

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