Wizards

Giants star WR could return as soon as today

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Giants star WR could return as soon as today

From Comcast SportsNet
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks has been taken off the physically unable to perform list by the New York Giants and can start practicing with the team. The Super Bowl champions made the move Monday after Nicks passed his physical. The four-year veteran will be limited for his first three workouts. His first could be Tuesday. "I'm very excited about that," Nicks said. "They're letting me know that by the beginning of next week, I can start doing some stuff with the team; some individual and stuff like that. They still want me to take it slow and be smart about it. But I feel good about being out there progressing myself with the team slowly but surely." Nicks missed the first two weeks of training camp at the University at Albany while completing rehabilitation on a broken right foot that he hurt in May during Organized Team Activities. Last week, he started running some pass patterns for trainers and felt good. Nicks fractured the fifth metatarsal of his right foot on May 24. He had a screw surgically inserted into the broken bone the next day. A first-round draft pick in 2009, Nicks caught 76 passes for 1,192 yards and seven touchdowns last season. He was outstanding in the playoffs, catching 28 passes for 444 yards (a 15.9 yard average) and four touchdowns. Nicks hopes to be ready for the Giants' season opener against Dallas on Sept. 5. "This is an indication that we're right where we should be," Nicks said. "We're on schedule. There have been no setbacks. I'm just going to take it one step at a time and be out there catching passes from Eli (Manning) and eventually get our timing back." The Giants still have three players on the PUP list: defensive tackle Chris Canty, tight end Travis Beckum and linebacker Clint Sintim. New York will have its final training camp practice Tuesday. The players have off Wednesday and then practice will be held Thursday at the team's headquarters in East Rutherford, N.J. They face the Jets in a preseason game on Saturday.

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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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