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Report: Bulls guard Zach LaVine, Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant invited to dunk contest

Former dunk-contest champion Zach LaVine

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 6: Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls dunks the ball during the game against the Atlanta Hawks on November 6, 2019 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

Zach LaVine is a back-to-back dunk-contest champion who won one of the best-ever dunk contests. Ja Morant’s dunks are so good, even his missed dunks are electrifying.

Want to see them compete this year in Chicago?

There’s a chance.

Eric Woodyard of ESPN:

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:

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.
“It’s something I’m thinking about,” Morant told Yahoo Sports. “I haven’t made a decision yet.”

Lakers center Dwight Howard and Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr. have reportedly already accepted invitations. There have been four entrants in each of the last five dunk contests. So, this could be the entire field if LaVine and Morant join.

Will they?

LaVine has a chance to achieve his goal of becoming an All-Star. Barring a change in format and injury replacements, 4-6 Eastern Conference guards will make the All-Star game. Trae Young, Kemba Walker, Ben Simmons and Bradley Beal look like the top candidates. LaVine is in the next tier with Jaylen Brown, Kyle Lowry, Spencer Dinwiddie and Devonte’ Graham. Though he has missed most of the season, Kyrie Irving ranks second in fan voting. If enough players pick him and media votes are concentrated enough on other players, Irving could steal a starting spot. Jimmy Butler is listed as a frontcourt player for fan voting, but coaches could pick him as a reserve guard.

Simply, it’s borderline for LaVine.

Morant will almost definitely be in Chicago for the Rising Stars game. With Zion Williamson injured, Morant is the top representative of the 2019 draft class. So, that makes it simpler for Morant to compete in the dunk contest, too.