Sports Round up: Saints sign Bryant; Lakers edge Wolves; Italy's 2026 Games bid
Following is a summary of current sports news briefs.
NBA notebook: All-Star draft reportedly to be televised
For the second time, NBA captains will draft All-Star teams before the game is played in 2019. For the first time, the draft will be televised, the New York Times reported Wednesday. Five starters from the East and five from the West will be selected as per tradition by fan balloting. Captains to be named will choose teams to fill out the rosters.
Golf: Garcia sets pace at Sun City with faultless 64
Sergio Garcia birdied three of the last four holes on his way to a faultless opening round of 64 and a four-shot lead in the European Tour's Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City on Thursday. Garcia, fresh from victory at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters last month, carded eight birdies as he seeks a third title at Sun City after wins in 2001 and 2003.
Saints sign WR Bryant, place Meredith on IR
Dez Bryant joined the New Orleans Saints on Thursday, taking the No. 88 and a roster spot vacated by wide receiver Cam Meredith. Meredith was placed on injured reserve and will undergo knee surgery, head coach Sean Payton said.
NHL roundup: Caps finally win two in row
T.J. Oshie scored with 1:14 left to give the Washington Capitals a 2-1 victory over the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night. The Capitals, who beat the Edmonton Oilers on Monday, won back-to-back games for the first time this season. Pittsburgh, meanwhile has lost five in a row, the first time that's happened under coach Mike Sullivan.
USOC under pressure to fix USA Gymnastics before Tokyo 2020
Like a world-class gymnast, the United States Olympic Committee(USOC) needs to nail a perfect landing to put a damaging sexual abuse scandal behind it ahead of the 2020 Games in Tokyo, sports sponsorship experts said. The USOC's announcement this week that it would seek to revoke the status of USA Gymnastics as the national governing body for the sport reflects pressure from fans, athletes and sponsors for a lasting solution for the scandal-plagued organization.
NBA roundup: LeBron, Lakers edge Wolves
LeBron James scored 24 points, and Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart had 21 apiece as the Los Angeles Lakers held on in a back-and-forth affair Wednesday to earn a 114-110 victory over the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves. James added 10 rebounds and nine assists, just missing out on his second triple-double as a member of the Lakers. Brandon Ingram scored 20 points for Los Angeles, which won for the third time in the past four games.
Report: Phillies likely Harper landing spot
Bryce Harper is destined to join the Philadelphia Phillies, according to executives polled on the free agent's future by USA Today. Harper, 26, turned down a 10-year, $300 million offer from the Washington Nationals on September 26. General manager Mike Rizzo said the franchise did its best to take advantage of the exclusive negotiating window while Harper was still under contract. Rizzo said that offer is now off the table and the Nationals will go about their business.
Olympics: Italy backs 2026 Winter Games bid by Milan and Cortina
The Italian government has given its support to a joint bid by Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo for the 2026 Winter Olympics, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said on Thursday. The two cities, Calgary and Stockholm are the only three definite candidates to host the event, and a decision is due in June.
Badminton: Malaysia's Lee eyes comeback after cancer treatment
Former world number one Lee Chong Wei is planning to return to badminton after successful treatment for nose cancer and has set his sights on winning gold at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, he said on Thursday. Speaking at his first news conference since his diagnosis in September, the Malaysian three-times Olympic silver medalist said he has no intention of retiring.
NFL notebook: Bell inches closer to return to Steelers
At least holdout running back Le'Veon Bell is in the same area code as the Pittsburgh Steelers, two days after posting a farewell message to his offseason home in Miami on social media. Bell, however, has not yet reported to the Steelers, who play Thursday at home against the Carolina Panthers. Instead, he was spotted Wednesday playing basketball at an L.A. Fitness facility in North Pittsburgh. Opponents and onlookers shared their encounter with Bell on social media, and the facility manager confirmed to ESPN on Wednesday that Bell was present.
(With inputs from agencies.)