After much speculation as to just how loaded the 2020 NBA Slam Dunk Contest would be, we now have a better idea of how the field will actually look. Though the full lineup is not out yet, we know that Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard is competing in the contest, hoping to bring back the excitement that surrounded the event when he was the star of it from 2007-09. The next name rumored to be competing was standout Memphis Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant, but news broke Thursday that he declined an offer to the event.
According to sources that spoke to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Morant is focused on "good health for the duration of the season."
Morant is having a stellar rookie season that has led many to believe he will take home the 2020 NBA Rookie of the Year honors. He is averaging 18 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 6.9 assists per game on 49.4% shooting from the field, 40.7% from the 3-point line, and 80.4% from the free throw line. Morant's excellent play currently has the Grizzlies in the eighth and final playoff spot in Western Conference.
Morant did suffer an injury, resulting in back spasms, after a very serious fall into the baseline camera operator on Nov. 25 in a game against the Pacers in Indiana.
Ja Morant is down bad after falling down bad into a cameraman pic.twitter.com/JRtwm1g8Fp— Chris Montano (@gswchris) November 26, 2019
There is still no official word as to whether or not Bulls star Zach LaVine will participate in the 2020 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, as the belief is he wants to see if he will make the Eastern Conference All-Star team first. High-flying Miami Heat wing Derrick Jones Jr. is expected to receive an invite and accept it with the news of Morant declining, though it has been reported before that Jones—who was a runner-up in the 2017 dunk contest while with the Phoenix Suns—will definitely compete in Chicago.
Derrick Jones Jr will participate in the Slam Dunk Contest at All Star Weekend.— Greg Leif Sylvander (@GregSylvander) January 6, 2020
The 2020 NBA Slam Dunk Contest takes place in Chicago on February 15, a day before the All-Star game.
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