Reports: Zach LaVine out, Aaron Gordon in for dunk contest

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Zach LaVineAaron Gordon II?

Unfortunately not.

After their epic showing in last year’s dunk contest, only Gordon will return this year.

Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders:

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

Of players to win back-to-back dunk-contest titles – Michael Jordan, Jason Richardson, Nate Robinson and LaVine – Richardson is the only one try for a third straight. It’s a bummer LaVine won’t, but he has already provided an incredible amount of All-Star Saturday night entertainment. If the Timberwolves guard is ready to move on, we have no choice but to accept that.

Gordon now becomes heavily favored to win this year’s dunk contest. He’s trying to transition from great dunker to great player, but he’s going through a rough year playing out of position with the Magic. So, why not get some great dunks in?

His competitors are slowly coming into focus. Pacers forward Glenn Robinson III will participate. Suns undrafted rookie Derrick Jones Jr. was reportedly invited, and Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown declined the league’s invitation.

Haynes:

Barring a surprising late development, this field will lack stature behind Gordon. LaVine will be missed. Let’s reminisce: