Amid the controversial yet inconsequential finish of th…

Amid the controversial yet inconsequential finish of the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest, the league veered from the rules to determine Saturday’s winner. Instead of letting the judges vote for either Orlando’s Aaron Gordon or Miami’s Derrick Jones Jr. after the first dunk of the dunk-off in the final round, the NBA allowed Gordon and Jones to attempt a second dunk-off dunk, which isn’t in the rules.

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Malika Andrews: Derrick Jones Jr. said that he expected the judges to make it so there would have been a third “dunk off” round after Aaron Gordon dinked over Tacko Fall: “He clipped Tacko’s head, so they couldn’t give him a 50. I expected them to give him a 48 so we could go again.”
Andre Iguodala: The right guy won.... Kenny wasn’t behind the judges table....
Jorge Sierra: No dunk titles for Gordon, but he will get a lot of sympathy out of this. That’s worth something. Nikola Vucevic: That’s worth nothing when you get robbed twice
Karl-Anthony Towns: #DunkContest pic.twitter.com/BBLp9iSVzM

http://twitter.com/KarlTowns/status/1228886910929686528
Ja Morant: judges are wilding 🤦🏽‍♂️
Austin Rivers: Nahhh that’s not cool.... AG been robbed twice now.
Alex Kennedy: Dwight Howard said he would compete in the dunk contest again in the future. He joked that he needs to practice between-the-leg dunks and look more like a small forward next time.
Josh Robbins: Aaron Gordon said during his post-contest press conference he was retiring from the dunk contest. But that shouldn't be interpreted as some kind of protest about tonight's result. In the weeks preceding the contest, Gordon said 2020 would be his final dunk contest.
Nicole Auerbach: I need Ja and Zion in next year’s dunk contest. Ja Morant: nah.
SLAM Magazine: Dwight paying tribute to Kobe on this dunk 🙏🏿🙏🏿 #ATTSlamDunk (via @NBAonTNT) pic.twitter.com/sw5VXbghmu
Tania Ganguli: Dwight Howard's plan on that second dunk was to have Kobe Bryant bring him the Superman cape. Once Bryant did that, Howard planned to show Bryant the 24 on his chest. He said Bryant had agreed to do it.
Chase Hughes: Davis Bertans teared up after the 3PT contest when asked about Kobe Bryant, whom he never met: "Him and his daughter, just seeing that and me having a daughter right now, those emotions that we're having together... it's more about him being a father to his daughters."
SportsCenter: Aaron Gordon says he feels like he should have two trophies and likely won’t do the dunk contest again. (via @Rachel__Nichols)
Gordon also lost the 2016 dunk contest in similarly heartbreaking fashion to Zach Levine. "It’s a wrap, bro," the Orlando Magic forward told reporters afterwards, signaling his dunk contest career is over. "I feel like I should have two trophies. ... Jumping over somebody 7-5 and dunking is no easy feat. What did I get, like a 47? Come on, man. What are we doing?"
Derrick Jones Jr. claimed the Slam Dunk Contest title, out-dueling Aaron Gordon in a thrilling double-tiebreaker dunk-off. Jones’ final slam received a score of 48 to barely beat out Gordon’s score of 47. Gordon’s final dunk saw him leap over 7-foot-5 center Tacko Fall to get the crowd on its feet and send fellow NBA stars on the sidelines into a frenzy. But it wasn’t enough to appease the five-judge panel.
There was no shortage of perfect scores on Saturday night. Gordon had five, two in the first round, two in the second and then one in the dunk-off rounds. His off-the-backboard extended 360 in the bonus rounds drew the most raves, with All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpograbbing Gordon in excitement afterwards. "We're here to do four dunks," Gordon said. "So out of four dunks, it should be the best out of four dunks."
It looked like Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker was headed for his second 3-Point Contest championship. But then Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield got hot, sinking four of his final five shots on his money-ball rack and edging Booker for his first 3-Point Contest title. Hield, who is third in the NBA at 3.8 3s made per game, had 27 points in the final round, outscoring Booker (26) and Washington Wizards forward Davis Bertans (22).
Hield needed to make the final shot to win, and he did. Hield made two of his first five shots, then made 17 of his next 20 from the regular five-ball racks. "I was talking to Book, and Book said he's been in it before, and said he already got one, and that gave me motivation to get one," Hield said. "He said coming every time brings more pressure. As a shooter, you want to win one. Every shooter wants to win one, and I feel like that."
Anthony Chiang: Bam Adebayo dedicated the Skills Challenge trophy to his mother, Marilyn Blount. They even took photos together on stage with the trophy. Emotional moment for both of them.
Often times, players that are at the end of the bench and see "garbage time" minutes are the ones that submit their names to dunk during All Star Weekend. Howard said that he doesn't see that trend reversing itself any time soon. "During All Star weekend, a lot of guys are getting ready for the second half of the season," Howard said. "So it is pretty hard to get those guys to want to be in the dunk contest. But, this is the thing that I enjoy. I have been dunking my whole life basically."
Sarah K. Spencer: Trae Young said he did a couple practice rounds of the 3-point contest when the Hawks were in Cleveland for their last game before the All-Star break. I asked if he won. But he was just competing against himself, trying to get the highest score he could.
USA TODAY Sports: Pat Connaughton admits he’s not as well-known as others in the NBA dunk contest. But he thinks that’s an advantage.
It didn't matter that he didn't win the dunk contest that night (Zach LaVine did). Everything had changed as far as his place in the sport and marketing worlds were concerned. "It took me from a domestic, American-known name to all over the world, people knew who I was," Gordon told ESPN after Thursday night's dunk contest practice session. "After that 2016 dunk contest, people really started to take a liking to me all over the world."
More than three decades later, some details of the classic slam dunk contest showdown between Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins are a bit fuzzy to Hall of Famer Gail Goodrich. One of five judges for the competition, the former Los Angeles Lakers' great is, however, certain of a few things: His Airness soared to a slightly higher level than the Human Highlight Reel, there was no pressure to crown Jordan the slam dunk king on his home court and the judges were not in cahoots. “It was very, very close,” Goodrich said of the competition. “They both performed with excellence. I thought that Michael performed just a little bit ahead of Dominique. I cast my vote for Michael.”
TBS broadcasters Bob Neal, Rick Barry and Steve Jones questioned the judging at the end, with a laughing Jones even half-joking: “Note was passed on to the judges.” Goodrich, however, insisted there was no thumb on the scale favouring Jordan, no pressure from the league. “No, absolutely none,” he said. “Nor did, as judges, we confer with one-another. Not at all.”
It is still the dunk contest by which all other dunk contests are measured: Two stars, at the peak of their powers, the players who finished first and second in that season's scoring standings, going head-to-head to decide a winner. Jordan left the old Chicago Stadium that night with the trophy. To this day, many believe Wilkins was the rightful winner. Either way, it was a never-to-be-forgotten show — and now, for the first time since that night 32 years ago, the dunk contest is returning to Chicago on Saturday night. "I did have a homecourt advantage, yes," Jordan said this week in an interview with The Associated Press. "The fans got their money's worth," Wilkins said in a separate interview with AP.
On Saturday at Chicago’s United Center, the Magic forward will compete in what he promises will be his final dunk contest, a matchup against former contest champion Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers, Derrick Jones Jr. of the Miami Heat and Pat Connaughton of the Milwaukee Bucks. Asked what fans can expect, Gordon provided a simple answer: “I’m gonna win.”
On Saturday at Chicago’s United Center, the Magic forward will compete in what he promises will be his final dunk contest, a matchup against former contest champion Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers, Derrick Jones Jr. of the Miami Heat and Pat Connaughton of the Milwaukee Bucks. Asked what fans can expect, Gordon provided a simple answer: “I’m gonna win.”
Christian Clark: Nicolo Melli already had a vacation planned to the Bahamas when he found out he was a late addition to Rising Stars. “Griff told me at the end of the shootaround. I thought he was joking."
Bucks Forward Pat Connaughton took to social media on Wednesday to recruit a Wisconsin sports star for Saturday night at the NBA Slam Dunk Contest in Chicago. Connaughton is one of four selected for the annual skills competition that's a staple of NBA All Star Weekend. Connaughton tweeted a photo of a note to Christian Yelich that read "Christian, I have a great idea! Meet me in Chicago this weekend. P.C." (Pat Connaughton)
Eric Woodyard: Bucks' Pat Connaughton tells ESPN he's looking to win the dunk contest and has a "few" surprises. "It's not the first underdog story I've had to write," he said. "I'll go into it, I'll have fun with it, but I'll still take it pretty seriously and see what I can do."
The NBA announced the official roster for the All-Star Celebrity Game on Wednesday, with a group that includes Chicago celebrities, basketball stars and recording artists. At the top of the list are Chicago rappers Chance the Rapper and Common, who will serve as captains in the Feb. 14 game at Wintrust Arena and as ambassadors for All-Star Weekend in Chicago. The pair also will perform at halftime of the 69th All-Star Game at the United Center.
The NBA and WNBA will be represented in the game as well as former DePaul and Young star Quentin Richardson and WNBA star Chelsea Gray are set to play on Wilbon’s team. On the other side, former NBA forward Darius Miles, WNBA star A’ja Wilson and former Bears defensive tackle Anthony “Spice” Adams will lace up for Smith’s team.
Mark Medina: Dwight Howard said he got word Kobe Bryant agreed to help him out at the dunk contest. Dwight says it’s “heartbreaking” that couldn’t happen.
David Morrow: 3-point shootout field set: Davis Bertans Devonte' Graham Joe Harris Buddy Hield Zach LaVine Damian Lillard Duncan Robinson Trae Young
JD Shaw: Here are the 2020 All-Star Skills Challenge Participants: Bam Adebayo, Patrick Beverley, Spencer Dinwiddie, Khris Middleton, Derrick Rose, Domantas Sabonis, Pascal Siakam, Jayson Tatum.
Tim Reynolds: The list of 3-point shooters for the contest (I believe all these have been announced along the way): -- Defending champion Joe Harris -- Damian Lillard -- Duncan Robinson -- Trae Young -- Davis Bertans -- Zach LaVine -- Devonte' Graham -- Buddy Hield The new max score is 40.
Shams Charania: Milwaukee’s Pat Connaughton has committed to invite to the NBA Slam Dunk contest at All-Star weekend in Chicago, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium. Aaron Gordon, Dwight Howard, Derrick Jones Jr., Connaughton so far set.
Spencer Dinwiddie: The other night I was asked about participating in the Skills Challenge and I want to apologize for my comments. If I am given the opportunity again I am confident I could win it again and continue to represent the league and the Nets in positive way.
Joe Harris has been invited back to NBA All-Star weekend later this month to defend his 3-point crown, according to a league source. But the sweet-shooting Nets forward still hasn’t decided whether he’ll go, or use the time to rest and recharge. Harris led the league in 3-point shooting last season at a career-best 47.4 percent, and last Feb. 16 in Charlotte, he won the 3-Point Contest with 26 points to beat Steph Curry.
Oliver Maroney: Unless something drastic changes, Zach LaVine does not plan on competing in the dunk contest, per sources.
Nuggets coach Michael Malone sent Porter a long text Friday telling him how proud he was of the season he’s put together and underscoring how valuable he’s been to their operation. “He knows I deserve to be a Rising Star, be in that game, but I’m gonna be playing in the playoffs, and that’s worth a lot more to me than playing in that game,” Porter said. “So I’m just gonna keep working, get my rest during that All-Star break and be ready for that second half of the season.”
Of the 10 players named to the U.S. roster, six of them are on teams currently out of the playoffs, including three Charlotte Hornets. Porter can live with being overlooked for the annual showcase if it means playing in games that matter. “I’m really not worried about it,” Porter said. “I’m just gonna keep working. I’m more worried about the team and our team success.”
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.'
Storyline: All-Star Contests
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August 11, 2022 | 2:12 am EDT Update

Robert Williams not available in potential trade involving Kevin Durant

There’s good reason for pessimism, Durant’s ultimatum to Nets owner Joe Tsai did not light a fire under trade talks. If anything, it made it far less likely a deal gets done in the short term. — why would Boston improve its offer now? It robbed the Nets of leverage. For example, Brooklyn was trying to get Boston to put Smart in the trade, but why would they even consider it now? That said, even without Smart (or Robert Williams III, sources told NBC Sports he is not available), a Celtics offer with Jaylen Brown may be the best one the Nets will see.
Ric Bucher: I’ve been assured that this is correct in spite of another report that says it never happened. And that’s as far as I’ll go with that, too. I’m not going to punch down. Ben Simmons was in a group chat with some of the other teams players. And on it, they asked Ben if he was playing in game four. And not only did he not answer, he dropped out of the chat. Now, as I said, there’s another reporter out there who suggested the event never happened. I’m well aware that that reporter has, let’s say he has vested interests in painting things a certain way. And again, I will leave it at that his comments prompted me to go back and double check with my source. And that source insists that it did indeed happen, and explain why someone might report it another way. So I’m sticking with it.
Patrick Beverley is not one to whine about getting moved from one team to another. The Utah Jazz guard recently addressed claims from fans about how the Minnesota Timberwolves “did him wrong when in fact that sentiment goes completely against how he views and interprets his offseason fate. Here’s Patrick Beverley going full Jay-Z, referencing the GOAT’s “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man” bar in explaining why he is thankful to the Timberwolves franchise.
Still, Caleb Canales’ decision to leave the NBA and coach in Mexico is not without risk. Broadening his experience on an international stage could help him get back to the league and to the job of his dreams, but his leap of faith could also be ignored. Despite a growing stable of foreign-born superstars and the NBA’s expansion to new markets overseas, the league has been slow to embrace coaches with international experience. European champions like David Blatt and Igor Kokoskov came and went last decade, as did successful foreign-born assistants like Etore Messina. “The coaching side, you always have to be ready to adapt and adjust,” Canales says.
While skepticism may remain in some NBA circles regarding the value of international coaching experience, there’s no doubt the league is putting effort in to diversify its coaching ranks overall. As of the 2022 offseason, half the league is led by Black head coaches. Nash and Kerr were born outside the U.S., and Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra is Filipino-American. Canales credits the work of David Fogel, executive director of the National Basketball Coaches Association, and Karen Marrero, its director of communications, for things improving over the last few seasons. “They’ve been so creative, and they’ve been so willing to help us, as coaches,” he stresses, highlighting the coaching profiles as well as a newly deployed coaches database the NBCA has set up to assist teams in finding and hiring talent outside the same small coaching pool.