Serena Winters: Al Horford said he was disappointed & surprised Matisse Thybulle didn’t make Rising Stars team. Said Matisse is ‘part of a winning team & having a real impact.’ And ‘what are we rewarding’ if we’re not recognizing defense? ‘He deserves to be there.’
KC Johnson: LaVine on what will drive his ASG events decision: "Obviously, my fatigue level and what events it would be, how much I have to put into it. For the dunk contest, I haven’t practiced at all. I’m not just going to walk into something and throw up a L. I gotta see if I can win."
On Friday, Feb. 14 at 9 p.m. ET, the league’s best rookies and sophomores will take the court during NBA Rising Stars, all wearing jersey patches featuring the Nos. 2 and 24 in the center surrounded by nine stars. The same patch will be worn by the State Farm All-Star Saturday Night participants competing in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, MTN DEW 3-Point Contest and AT&T Slam Dunk on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. ET.
Stefan Bondy: Mike Miller said that RJ Barrett, who is sidelined with a sprained ankle, is on track to play in the Rising Stars Challenge. Said “it looks promising.”
Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield has accepted an invitation to compete in the 3-Point Contest during All-Star Weekend on Feb. 15 in Chicago, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Brooklyn Nets sharpshooter Joe Harris is the defending champ, but he’s still mulling whether to accept his invitation, sources said.
Chase Hughes: Rui Hachimura said NBA All-Star weekend events were aired in the morning in Japan when he was growing up, so he would skip school to watch them. Said that was "bad," but that's how much it meant to him. He's very excited to be part of AS weekend by way of the Rising Stars game.
Fred Katz: Moe Wagner on making Rising Stars: “I didn’t even have it really on my radar at all. So, obviously it’s rewarding. It’s cool. But for me, necessarily it’s not something i wanted to accomplish in my life.”
Sarah K. Spencer: Trae Young said he's excited for Rising Stars, but has mixed emotions. He thought more Hawks should have gotten an invite. "I think what Kev’s been doing all year, what (De’Andre Hunter’s) been doing, what Cam’s been doing as of late, our team is full of rising stars."
PJ Washington: Rising ⭐️! Can’t wait to represent Charlotte in Chicago with my guys @Devonte Graham and @Miles Bridges. This one goes out to our whole team. Thank you all for the support. 🙏🏽🉑
Tim Reynolds: Bam Adebayo is on the NBA's list for the skills competition at All-Star Saturday, league source says.
Chris Haynes: Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard will compete in the 3-Point Contest next month in Chicago, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
Chase Hughes: Scott Brooks says Rui Hachimura’s health won’t hold him back from playing in the Rising Stars game next month, barring something unforeseen. Rui has a really good chance to make it and, if he returns Sat. as planned, will have some games under his belt.
Ira Winderman: The NBA had been scheduled to announce tonight the participants in the Rising Stars game, but has informed teams that has been postponed. Kendrick Nunn, Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson are Heat candidates for the Feb. 14 game in Chicago during All-Star Weekend.
One of the most surprising comeback stories of the season will be a part of All-Star weekend next month after Howard finally acknowledged after two weeks of speculation that he not only will be in the dunk contest, he asked the league to be in it for the first time since 2009. And that’s not the only thing the 34-year-old is willing to ask for. “I’m trying to get Kobe,” he said. “So if I can get all the Laker fans to lobby to get Kobe to help me in the dunk contest, that’d be really good. That’d be awesome.”
Barry Jackson: While Derrick Jones Jr. has been invited to Slam Dunk contest All Star weekend, Duncan Robinson hasn't received word on if he will be invited to 3-point contest, per league-employed source. Butler expected to play in the game, and so will Bam if Barkley gets his way (&Bam should)
Shams Charania: Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr. has accepted an invitation to the NBA Slam Dunk contest at All-Star weekend in Chicago, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium. Jones — a key rotation player for Miami — joins Lakers' Dwight Howard as dunk contest commitments.
Dwight Howard will be part of the 2020 Slam Dunk Contest on All-Star Weekend. The Los Angeles Lakers confirmed Howard's participation in a tweet Tuesday.
NBA: Don’t miss Dwight Howard’s return to the #ATTSlamDunk Contest at NBA All-Star 2020 in Chicago on February 15th on TNT!
Lonzo Ball: Yeah it’s right after the game and I know I never do this but BRANDON INGRAM is an All Star???????? @B_Ingram13 #B4L
Hamidou Diallo soared over Shaquille O'Neal in the defining moment of the 2019 NBA Slam Dunk Contest. Diallo was crowned the champion, and it's a title he's willing to defend in February if healthy. "Of course," Diallo told The Oklahoman on Thursday. "If I'm healthy, 100 percent. I'm a competitor."
If healthy, Diallo said he doesn't need an invitation to participate. "I won the dunk contest," Diallo said. "I'm pretty much invited as long as everything goes smooth." As for his biggest competition? "I'm the competition," Diallo said. "I'm the winner. I'm the competition for them. I'm going in with the crown."
Ira Winderman: With the Yahoo report of Ja Morant bypassing the Slam Dunk Contest during All-Star Weekend, the expectation now, according to a source close to the situation, is a formal invitation to Derrick Jones Jr. will be extended shortly. He had not been informed before Morant's decision.
Memphis Grizzlies standout rookie Ja Morant has decided not to participate in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest during All-Star Weekend in Chicago next month, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Maintaining good health for the duration of the season is his main priority, sources said.
Tim Reynolds: Derrick Jones Jr. says he still has not been invited to the dunk contest, and Kendrick Nunn says he's still not gotten any word about the Rising Stars game. No need to panic. Yet.
Rose wouldn’t confirm that he’ll participate in the Skills Competition at All-Star weekend in Chicago, which multiple outlets, including NBC Sports Chicago, has reported. There’s a month of basketball to play before then. Rose spoke about his season, where he’s at mentally and physically, and more in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago.
Spencer Dinwiddie: The Spencer Dinwiddie bond launches January 13th. I’ll also be taking 8 fans to ASW with me. #NBAVote
Regardless of what Morant decides to do, this year’s All-Star Weekend is shaping up to be a historic one for the Grizzlies. Memphis has never had more than four participants between the Dunk Contest, 3-Point Contest, Skills Challenge, Rising Stars Challenge and All-Star Game. There’s a great chance the Grizzlies will have at least four this year. If Morant agrees to do the Dunk Contest — and make no mistake, it’s something many of his teammates would like to see — it would almost guarantee the Grizzlies matching their franchise-high for All-Star Weekend participants, barring anything unexpected.
Shams Charania: Pistons guard Derrick Rose plans to return to Chicago for NBA All-Star Weekend in February, accepting invitation to the Skills Competition Saturday night, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium .
Dave McMenamin: Dwight Howard threw some kryptonite on any ideas he'd be making a Superman return to the dunk contest in Chicago next month: "I don't know where you guys are getting this information from. I never said I was doing the dunk contest."
Frederic Weis: Hey @NBA , why don't you invite Vince Carter and me at the dunk contest for the remake of 2000 olympics !
Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young and Dallas Mavericks star Luka Dončić have been invited to participate in the NBA Three-Point Contest at All-Star Weekend in Chicago next month, league sources told Yahoo Sports. The two emerging stars will always be linked as their respective teams swapped the pair on draft day in 2018.
Young, who is averaging 28.9 points, 8.4 assists and shooting 37.5 percent from beyond the arc, will accept the invitation, sources said. Dončić is still deliberating, sources said.
Shams Charania: Pistons guard Derrick Rose plans to return to Chicago for NBA All-Star Weekend in February, accepting invitation to the Skills Competition Saturday night, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium.
Rick Bonnell: I asked @Devonte Graham if NBA has reached out about him being in All-Star Saturday (3-point contest?) Says he hasn’t heard anything.
KC Johnson: LaVine: "I don’t think anyone has won a dunk contest and a 3-point contest. So I’ll try that one out. I would love to.”
Fred Katz: Scott Brooks on how he thinks Davis Bertans would do in the 3-point contest: “I think he wins it. … I think he’s as good of a shooter as I’ve ever been around. … And you know what? He’s probably gonna stay in the night before, as well."
Superman is back. Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard will participate in the Dunk Contest in Chicago at All-Star weekend, league sources told The Athletic. The NBA has received the commitment of the three-time participant (2007-09), one-time Slam Dunk champion and a potential Hall of Famer to revitalize the energy in this year’s competition.
The Lakers plan to take great cautiousness and care of Howard while he participates in the event in Chicago, understanding his critical role on a championship favorite come the postseason, sources said. Howard turned 34 on Dec. 8. He is an eight-time All-Star, three-time Defensive Player of the Year and eight-time All-NBA team member.
Memphis Grizzlies standout rookie Ja Morant has been invited to compete in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest during All-Star Weekend in Chicago next month, league sources told Yahoo Sports. The 6-foot-3 point guard out of Murray State has had some of the most electrifying, jaw-dropping dunks of the season.
But the 20-year-old high-flyer is still mulling over the offer. “It’s something I’m thinking about,” Morant told Yahoo Sports. “I haven’t made a decision yet.”
KC Johnson: Zach LaVine dunk contest update: "Obviously, I feel I’d be more inclined to do it if I’m playing in the game. But I feel like I should do something during All-Star weekend, if it’s the game, 3-point contest, dunk contest, something. I know I still got some dunks left."
Joe Cowley: Zach LaVine Slam Dunk Watch: LaVine admitted to working on a few dunks last month ... and just said his legs feel good.
With the shooting display Robinson has put on this season, a spot in the three-point contest during February’s NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago could be in his future. “Only just because people keep saying stuff to me about it,” Robinson said when asked if he has thought about the possibility of competing in the three-point contest. “It would be an honor, obviously. I’ve had that in my skill set my whole life. It would pretty surreal to be a part of it. But I try not to get too caught up in that and just focus on making shots and winning games.”
It's been 11 years since Dwight Howard won the NBA Dunk Contest with that insane Superman slam ... and now DH says he's given serious thought to doing it AGAIN!!! "I thought about it. I'm getting my legs back. I feel young again," 33-year-old Howard told us outside The Window burger joint in Venice.
When we asked if entering the 2020 contest was a real possibility, Howard wouldn't commit ... instead telling us his main focus this season in winning an NBA title with the Lakers. "I have thought about it, but winning the championship is the most important thing. I have all the individual accolades but I don't have the trophy so hopefully, we can win this title this year, which I believe we can."
With NBA All-Star Weekend set to return to Chicago this February, Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson tells ESPN he's a "game-time" decision on committing to the dunk contest. "I don't know yet, if I'm being honest, depends on where I'm at," he said. He also called it an honor to play at the United Center for the first time tonight because Michael Jordan "won six rings here." More than three decades have passed since MJ glided from the free-throw line in 1988 to win the slam dunk title in Chicago.
Darnell Mayberry: The Bulls have one early verbal commitment to an All-Star Saturday night event: Denzel Valentine is letting it be known he wants to participate in the 3-point contest in February. Valentine shot 39 percent on 3s in 2017-18.
Roy Parry: Magic forward Aaron Gordon on ESPN's "The Jump": "If I'm healthy, I'm going," in regards to the 2020 slam dunk competition during the All-Star Game weekend in Chicago. Gordon also said he hopes he gets the opportunity.
TMZ Sports spoke to Gordon about whether he'd throw his hat back in the ring for next year's contest -- which LaVine's Chicago Bulls just happen to be hosting -- and he says he's DOWN!! "I think so, it's starting to look like that," Gordon says. "It's really up to the NBA, but we're gonna do it."
I have to ask this because I know fans are curious: Will you compete in the dunk contest again? I know you didn’t enter it this year because you didn’t want to be tired for the second half of the season as you fight for playoff positioning. But will we ever see you in the dunk contest again? Donovan Mitchell: Yes. For sure. I don’t know if it’s going to be next year, I don’t know if it’s going to be the year after that, but I am going to do it again.
The presentation that millions saw Saturday night was not all Collins’ idea. He was skeptical at first and thought the entirety of the act was too sophisticated for a dunk contest. He originally had approached NBA officials with a plan to leap over an object that hadn’t been jumped over before in a dunk contest. As the two parties discussed options, a plane was settled on. In theory, it was perfect because of North Carolina’s aviation history. Collins, however, didn’t have control of the size of the plane as the construction of the plane was handled by the league. The first conversation was just the two sides agreeing to a plane being involved in one of Collins’ dunks. As conversations continued, league representatives also suggested he include a nod to the Tuskegee Airmen for Black History Month, and the NBA would create a short intro video for the Wright brothers and provide the aviation headgear. Collins’ mother was a sergeant in the Air Force, and he’s a history buff himself, so he went along with it, thinking the creativity behind it would be appreciated. It fell flat.
There was a lack of energy from the crowd all night, and a salute to the state’s history wasn’t going to be enough for the fans to care. Collins felt defeated after completing the dunk. He threw the hat he was wearing into the crowd and took a seat on the bench where he kept shaking his head in frustration. “I was just disappointed,” Collins said.
The teasing returned Saturday night from fans across social media, but Collins is hoping he gets one more chance in a future dunk contest to show that he can deliver with a second time around. “I feel like I didn’t get the full respect, but everything will come in due time,” he said. “I can see the progress. I’m not trying to rush anything too much. I like where I’m at right now.”
Mark Medina: Stephen Curry finishes with 24 and loses to Joe Harris. Steph made his first 9 shots, but then that third rack hurt him. He missed 3 of 5 on the third rack.
Tim Bontemps: Jayson Tatum, whose nickname is Taco Jay, on winning the Taco Bell skills challenge: "I’m gonna call Taco Bell tomorrow, tell them I need a deal. I need a commercial. I love tacos."
Michael Singer: Nikola Jokic draws Nikola Vucevic in the first round. Vooch interrupted Joker's press conference this morning at media. Joker loved it. "That's my brother."
Kyle Goon: Kyle Kuzma in the mixed zone: REPORTER: "What was missing for you to win it all?" KUZMA: "My jump shot."
Tom Orsborn: Danny Green isn't the only player wondering why Davis Bertans isn't in the 3-point contest. “He should be here,” LA said. “He’s leading the NBA. He’s been great all year... But I think that’s the #Spurs way. We don’t say anything. It’s about letting our work speak for itself."
Alex Kennedy: Seth Curry says we may see Dell Curry put up some shots tonight. 👀 pic.twitter.com/MG2kXHHb83
Barbara Barker: Dennis Smith Jr. says he talked to Vince Carter for advice on slam dunk contest. #knicks #nbamediaday pic.twitter.com/17uc5TBWBF
Ryan Wolstat: Hawks big man John Collins said he has been getting slam dunk contest advice from teammate Vince Carter and Atlanta legend Dominique Wilkins. Says it’s like having a “cheat sheet.” Makes sense. Two of the five best dunkers ever.
Larry Drew and teammates celebrated Cedi Osman’s selection as part of Team World. Internally, the Cavaliers believed there was a chance for two players in the showcase. But opposing coaches passed over rookie Collin Sexton. Twice. “I’m just gonna use it as motivation. Got to,” Sexton told cleveland.com late Wednesday night. “It’s just more fuel for me.”
“He has been scoring the basketball, but I think he’s been doing a really good job of deciphering when to score and when to pass,” Drew said recently. “That was something that coming into this thing with him that we knew we would have to teach him, and show him, and continue to harp on. But what I’m seeing, he’s kind of picking and choosing his spots. Which is what point guards do.” Sexton said he will watch the Rising Stars game. He wants to support teammate Osman and Sexton is friends with a number of participants.
Michael C. Wright: Hearing Danny Green will be on the call for the Rising Stars game. That’s pretty cool, as he definitely has a career in media ahead if he wants it.
Delk gives Diallo a shot on Saturday, if he can overcome the nerves that are certain to come with the bright lights of an All-Star Saturday night. And who knows? Maybe someday he and Williamson will meet again in a dunk contest. “You know you’re doing something as a high school kid when you’re getting the NBA guys standing up and making faces,” Delk said. “Those guys were doing it that night.”
While such a reality is laughable now, five All-Stars took part in the dunk festivities in 1985: Dominique Wilkins, Michael Jordan, Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Clyde Drexler and Larry Nance. Another All-Star was a scratch due to injury: Charles Barkley. (His replacement was a little-known player named Terence Stansbury, who delivered the memorable “Statue of Liberty” 360-degree dunk.) The 1985 NBA Slam Dunk Contest has gone down in history as arguably the best ever, as Wilkins outlasted a sweatsuit-wearing Jordan for the dunk crown in Indianapolis. “We wanted to know who the best was,” Wilkins told The Undefeated. “It was as simple as that. And we wanted to do it for the fans. That was the biggest thing. That’s what everybody came to the All-Star Weekend to see. The dunk contest was a signature event.”
HOW WOULD YOU CHANGE THE DUNK CONTEST? Vince Carter: I would do it like the old days, like you would do in streetball. Next man up, then once you go, it’s next, next, next, next. To me, the gimmicky thing is kind of overrated. Show them what you’re ‘cooking’ with. Don’t put the onus on a guy to have to use a prop or a teammate. Just go out there and throw the ball out there. It’s your turn. And let that be that. And that’s kind of how it originated. That’s kind of how it organically happens on the streetball or basketball court. Dominique Wilkins: I don’t know what you can do because the best athletes don’t want to get in it. That’s one thing you can’t change. As for the format, I like the old-school format. You go out there and get you a ball and let your imagination do its thing. Keep it simple.
WHY AREN’T THE ELITE PLAYERS COMPETING? Dominique Wilkins: The big-time athletes won’t get in it. That is the first thing that comes to mind. But they got so many things going on besides that. … Everybody’s scared to fail. Vince Carter: I don’t think there’s a remedy. It’s just how they’re feeling. I can’t answer that question. I just don’t know. That was just something I looked forward to. But in my mind, I didn’t know I would become a star player that night. Prior to it, I wasn’t a star player. I was [a high] pick. But after that night, my life changed. I also was in the All-Star Game, so it kind of goes both ways. [The dunk contest] was something I wanted to do. … One time was enough for me. I didn’t want to be labeled as the dunk contest guy.
Kevin Knox will compete in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday but has made his decision to skip All-Star Saturday’s Dunk Contest featuring Dennis Smith Jr., his Knicks teammate. Knox decided to accept an invitation to watch his Kentucky Wildcats play host to No. 1 Tennessee in a big showdown.
Ian Begley: Dennis Smith Jr. believes the Knicks are “building something great”; he wishes the trade to NY happened earlier in the season so he could play against DAL this year; Smith Jr. also has a group chat with J. Cole and, I believe, J. Cole’s manager about dunks for the dunk contest:
Royce Young: Hamidou Diallo wouldn’t give many hints about the dunk contest, but says he’s not a fan of props and that his favorite dunker ever is Zach LaVine.
Mike Vorkunov: Kevin Knox will replace Lonzo Ball in the rookie/sophomore Rising Stars game. Knicks now have two All-Star weekend representatives. Dennis Smith Jr. is in the dunk contest.
July 4, 2022 | 5:27 am EDT Update
“The Lakers have yet, I’m told, to be aggressive in trying to put a deal together to get [Kyrie] from Brooklyn. That may come, that may evolve with time. But so far right now, there’s no traction really on deals with either Irving or Durant.” 🗣️ @wojespn
John Clark: I’m told despite reports, the Sixers are not pursuing Kyrie Irving I’m told there were discussions internally about Kyrie and other players, but the Sixers never entered into actual talks with Brooklyn As far as Kevin Durant, remember he has a big say in where he will wind up
Those who know Durant cite two primary factors: a rocky Nets season that ended in a first-round playoff sweep; and the franchise’s soured relationship with Irving, his close friend. Durant doesn’t see much hope for a revival under the circumstances, those sources say. And he’s unhappy that his friend is unhappy.
As one insider sympathetic to Durant noted, “Kyrie sabotaged everything,” but Durant is reacting more to the effects than the cause, and he now views the Nets as unsalvageable. “There’s no use in (him) taking sides when it’s all too far gone,” the person said. In essence, the Nets were right in principle, but wrong in practical terms, failing to understand that making Irving upset “was going to drive Kevin away.” It’s instructive to note that for all the chaos, all the havoc and all the stress, Durant still wants to play with Irving, according to league insiders.
Chris Fedor on Collin Sexton: The Dallas Mavericks have been rumored as a team that may have interest because they lost Jalen Brunson. They don’t have cap space. So it would have to be a sign-and-trade worked out with the Cavs. And I’m told that the Cavs are not very attracted to any of the pieces that Dallas would be willing to send back to them in a potential sign-and-trade.
The difference in the tax penalty — somewhere around $15 million extra in the immediate, a whole lot more throughout a longer-term deal — caused Lacob and the Warriors to balk. It stung several in the organization, per sources. They’d found Payton and grown to not only love the person but also understand the value of his unique skill set. It translated to winning. For the first time, they’d failed to retain one of their own due to an unwillingness to meet a financial demand.