John Calipari and LeBron can be bought separately; Kentucky recruit told Calipari will return

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Thumbnail image for john-calipari.jpgLeBron James and John Calipari are not tied at the hip.

A day after reports that CAA agent and the NBA’s quietest power broker William “worldwide” Wesley was trying to sell teams on the two as a package, everybody and their brother are denying it.

The Chicago Bulls are telling ESPN.com’s Andy Katz that they have not been contacted about this pair. Same with the Los Angeles Clippers.

ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard says sources told him LeBron is not demanding they be a package. Another of his sources close to Wesley said the man himself did not make any such offers.

That’s a lot of denials. None of which really matter that much.

Working through official channels has never been Wesley’s way. He quiet, much more subtle than that. He will make these offers through back channels and through intermediaries, allowing him and the teams to make denials as they did to Katz and Broussard. We’ll add this doesn’t mean teams will accept this offer, or that it is even likely a team would take this deal, but the offers will not be made through the front door.

Meanwhile, Calipari is working to keep his incoming, powerhouse recruiting class together at Kentucky.

Elite incoming college recruit Brandon Knight told the South Florida Sun Sentinel that Calipari told him he will be back at Kentucky.

“He said he’s not leaving and that he’ll be there,” Knight said. “I’m not really worried. Even if he does decide to leave, that won’t ruin the whole situation for me.”

Knight is a two-time Gatorate National High School Player of the Year, but one smart enough not to sign a university-friendly, binding letter of intent (he simply applied for a financial aid package, meaning a scholarship). Unlike other college recruits, he can change his mind and apply elsewhere if he wants.

Aaron Gordon both legs over the mascot, ball-under-the-legs dunk (VIDEO)

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TORONTO — Zach LaVine won the NBA All-Star Saturday Dunk Contest, but in an epic night for my money this was the single best dunk.

Orlando’s Aaron Gordon broke ground with this one — guys have jumped over mascots and other players before (and a Kia hood), but by splitting their legs apart. Gordon just put both legs over Stuff (that’s the mascot’s name, Stuff the Magic Dragon, I don’t make this up) — and took the ball off the mascot’s head, went under his legs, and threw it down.

Insane.

Gordon deserved a trophy for his performance in this dunk contest.

Zach LaVine edges Aaron Gordon in epic, insane Dunk Contest

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TORONTO — That. Was. Amazing.

In a dunk contest that will go down with the all-time greats — Jordan vs. Dominique, Dr. J from the free throw line — Minnesota’s Zach LaVine defended his dunk contest title. Barely. Because Orlando’s Aaron Gordon was doing dunks nobody had ever seen before.

And LaVine was bringing it just as hard.

The two men advanced to the finals — dismissing Will Barton and Andre Drummond, each of whom had good dunks — and that was when it got wild.

There were four second-round dunks, and four perfect scores of 50. (That was in spite of Shaq, who wanted to give nines for second attempts.)

“I was prepared for four (second round dunks),” LaVine said. “To tell the truth, he came with something that no one else has done. He did two dunks that were just crazy with the mascots, jumping over them. We just kept pushing each other until the last dunk. I’ve got to give it up to my boy Will “The Thrill” Barton. It’s because of him I think I won. Because he said try to go from the free-throw line. I’d never done that before, and I just tried it. So I guess it was a great dunk. I think it was the best one ever.”

The Air Canada Centre crowd was exploding with every dunk. The two men went to a dunk-off — and got two more 50s.

“If I knew it was going to be like that, I would have prepared better and we would have been here dunking all night, going back 50 after 50 after 50 after 50,” Gordon said. “We would have been here all night. I didn’t know it was going to be like that. I was just hoping Zach was going to miss, and it wasn’t going to happen. You could see as my facial expressions when Zach dunks it, it’s like okay, that’s a 50. Like I know we’re going to have to dunk again.”

So they went to a second-round of overtime, where LaVine put up another 50 and won the contest.

Gordon was close to perfect.

Zach LaVine can flat-out fly.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon with the over-the-mascot mad dunk

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TORONTO — Aaron Gordon was giving Zach LaVine all he could handle in the Dunk Contest.

He blew the lid off the Air Canada Centre with this dunk in the first round — and it wasn’t even his best dunk of the night. Never seen this before.

This dunk contest was awesome, so much more video to come.

Zach LaVine opens Slam Dunk Contest title defense with spectacular behind-the-back slam (VIDEO)

during the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge 2016 at Air Canada Centre on February 12, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. 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.
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TORONTO — Zach LaVine clearly heard all the talk that Aaron Gordon or Will Barton had a chance to upset him in the Slam Dunk Contest. He came out ready to prove his superiority right off the bat. This behind-the-back slam was his first attempt of the night:

Even better was the reaction, both from Andre Drummond and from LaVine’s Minnesota teammates: