Marc Stein: U.S. Rising Stars roster as the NBA announc…

Marc Stein: U.S. Rising Stars roster as the NBA announced via @nba_topshot: LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Haliburton, Tyler Herro, De’Andre Hunter, Keldon Johnson, Ja Morant, Michael Porter Jr., Zion Williamson, James Wiseman.

More on All-Star Contests

The league tried to add high-profile names. Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Anthony Edwards — who recently had one of the most jaw-dropping dunks you’ll ever witness — turned down the league’s request to compete in the Slam Dunk Contest, league sources told Yahoo Sports. A field with Williamson and Edwards would have certainly made for must-see TV. Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown and Charlotte Hornets high-flyer Miles Bridges declined as well, sources said.
That even goes for Buddy Hield, who has an NBA 3-point shootout title to defend, although he was non-committal about the even. "Do you think I should go defend it?" Hield asked reporters when talking about the event. "I don't know yet, to be honest, I've been having mixed emotions, you know, cover rules and especially I don't have no time with my family. Just trying to see how the COVID rules and the boundaries are set up. No clear cut yes yet, I'll just see in the next couple of days." According to Hield, he received an invitation from the league to join the festivities, but he is still mulling it over.
Mike Vorkunov: Obi Toppin says he's the best dunker in the family. But he adds: "My dad still got some." Obi Toppin might steal some tricks from his dad, though. "Maybe I'll pull out one of his dunks. We'll have to see but he definitely has some tricks back then. I think I have better ones."
A wide grin broke across Toppin’s face at the possibility — a potential indicator he has inside intel of having a legitimate chance at an invite. “The Dunk Contest, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see,’’ said a smiling Toppin. “I don’t want to just give you all answers, but hopefully I might be able to be there. Maybe not. So we’re just going to have to wait and see.’’
Marc Stein: The Hawks’ State Farm Arena is emerging as the likely All-Star Game site, sources say. Discussions continue on various All-Star fronts but momentum is indeed building for a dunk contest and 3-point contest to be attached to the March 7 All-Star Game.
Steve Popper: Elfrid on Randle as an all-star: "Honestly, it’s not even a question. I don’t even know what we’re talking about. He’s definitely been playing at an all-star level. We’ve been winning. I don’t think it’s really a debate."
Bleacher Report: "There's only a couple of people that think D-Jones should have won, though ... You and D-Jones." D-Wade and Aaron Gordon clear the air about the 2020 dunk contest *NSFW* (via @DwyaneWade)

http://twitter.com/BleacherReport/status/1256408096517189633
Aaron Gordon has put his displeasure with the 2020 Dunk Contest into a "diss" track titled "9 OUT OF 10," in which he calls out Dwyane Wade for the vote that helped him lose to Miami's Derrick Jones Jr. In an epic dunk contest back in February, Gordon dunked over Chance the Rapper (twice) and threw down 360-degree, between-the-leg slams. The battle between Gordon and Jones carried on into a "dunk-off" in which each player had to improvise dunks that hadn't been rehearsed. For Gordon's final dunk, he cleared 7-foot-6 Tacko Fall.
The latest installment comes two months after Gordon lost to Wade's former teammate, Derrick Jones Jr., in a controversial dunk contest during NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago. Last week Gordon released a diss rap track aimed at Wade, one of the judges who gave Gordon a nine when jumped over 7-foot-5 rookie Tacko Fall on his final dunk. The song is titled "9 out of 10." The chorus goes, “Nine out of 10, can you please fix your lens? Nine out 10 got you playing pretend. Nine out of 10, here we go again. Nine out of 10, could have bought the fam' a Benz. Nine out of 10, are you making amends? Nine out of 10, probably lost an M.”
The latest installment comes two months after Gordon lost to Wade's former teammate, Derrick Jones Jr., in a controversial dunk contest during NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago. Last week Gordon released a diss rap track aimed at Wade, one of the judges who gave Gordon a nine when jumped over 7-foot-5 rookie Tacko Fall on his final dunk. The song is titled "9 out of 10." The chorus goes, “Nine out of 10, can you please fix your lens? Nine out 10 got you playing pretend. Nine out of 10, here we go again. Nine out of 10, could have bought the fam' a Benz. Nine out of 10, are you making amends? Nine out of 10, probably lost an M.”
Jason Richardson: Well, I think Aaron Gordon has been robbed twice in a row. I might be biased, but I think the dunks he did were unseen and spectacular. He was great. I think he should be a two-time dunk contest winner. I totally believe that. It’s special what he can do. It’s special what most of these guys can do now. I was just talking to a kid yesterday who recognized me when I was working out at the gym. I was telling him how these guys are evolving. It’s just funny how evolved these guys are, how crazy they’re jumping and the tricks they’re coming up with. It’s just amazing.

http://twitter.com/Rachel__Nichols/status/1233530240359636992
But has the increased attention stemming from Saturday night’s memorable victory over Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic changed Jones Jr.? “Man, he walked in and didn’t say nothing to me this morning,” Jimmy Butler joked. “Nah, he’s the same dude. He’s always going to be like that. And I know him: If he goes to the dunk contest next year, he’ll win it again.”
Much like in 2016 when Gordon was the tough-luck loser to two-time champion Zach LaVine, Gordon has spent the past few days dealing with the fall out of an event he’s always thought he was destined to win at some point in his basketball career. In the subsequent four days since the Dunk Contest ended, Gordon has heard from countless numbers of fans, fellow NBA players and celebrities in the music and movie industries about a result they felt was wrong. That, in a weird and twisted sort of way, has helped to soothe Gordon’s disappointment over the results, he said. ``I definitely feel some type of way about it,’’ Gordon said while carefully choosing his words. ``I’m definitely kind of irritated a little bit and a little frustrated, as well. ``But it’s OK, it’s really OK,’’ he added. ``We’ve got to move on because it’s over now. I think it will be talked about for years and years and years, which is really cool. But at the same time, it’s over.’’
We talked to Dr. J -- who was in the building for the dunk contest -- at Reagan National Airport in Washington D.C. on Monday ... and we asked the hoops legend if the Orlando Magic star was robbed by the judges in Chi-town. "I don't know if robbed is the right term, if it had ended in a tie, I don't think anybody would've been upset. But, a contest like that going into basically 2 overtimes. Third overtime. You hate to have a loser." BUT, forced to pick a winner, Dr. J -- who won the inaugural ABA Dunk Contest in 1976 -- says Gordon's final dunk was justtttttttt a little better than Derrick Jones Jr.'s jam. "I think [Gordon's] last dunk was cleaner. Neither one of them were 50's because they had shot their load in terms of their best stuff."

http://twitter.com/Vivek/status/1229180177432760320
It was admirable of 34-year-old Dwight Howard, the 2008 dunk champ, do get back out there with Jones, Gordon, and White Men CAN Jump spokesman Pat Connaughton. Sources said Howard’s Friday night dunk contest practice was drawn out, with Howard having to revise his dunk routine with dunks that he could actually pull off. He posted the lowest single dunk score in Saturday’s contest, with a 41 for jumping, posing with his arms spread, then spinning and dunking. “I was going to put my arms in the rim,” Howard said, when asked what dunk he might’ve done in the finals. “I couldn’t wait to do it. But it’s OK. I’m happy to be here.”
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.
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.
Storyline: All-Star Contests
More HoopsHype Rumors
April 19, 2021 | 7:31 am EDT Update
Reigning EuroLeague scoring champion Mike James has emerged as a candidate to sign with the Brooklyn Nets, Eurohoops has learned via a source. James was suspended indefinitely by CSKA Moscow in late March following an incident with team head coach Dimitris Itoudis and has headed back to his native United States. UPDATE: He will join the Nets, according to Chema de Lucas.
Hasheem Thabeet is looking to make an NBA comeback, his agent Jerry Dianis told me on Saturday. The 7’3″ big-man just won MVP honors while playing in Taiwan for the Hsinchu JKO Lioneers. “Bottom line Hasheem Thabeet was given a opportunity, and he killed it,” Dianis told me. “MVP performance with career highs in points, rebounds, minutes played, assists and steals. Thabeet averaged 18.3 points, 14.3 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game.
“With the recent conclusion of his season in Taiwan, Hasheem is an unrestricted free agent,” Dianis added. “He is in the best shape of his life as certified by his recent MVP performance. Hasheem looks forward to helping an NBA team that needs his athleticism and size off the bench. I have no doubt Hasheem will be inundated with worldwide opportunities.”
Storyline: Hasheem Thabeet NBA return?

Anthony Davis returning against the Mavericks?

Marc Stein: The Lakers continue to list Anthony Davis as out for Monday’s home date with Utah. So Davis’ return to the lineup likely comes Thursday or Saturday in Dallas against a Mavs team that has lost four straight at home … including tonight after the Kings had lost nine in a row. pic.twitter.com/76TPnvFZ7w