Posted by Sabrina B.Â @gametimegirl
He won’t be dunking, exactly, butÂ New York KnicksÂ sensationÂ Jeremy LinÂ has been invited to take part in the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest at All-Star Weekend in Orlando.
Sources with knowledge of the league’s plans told ESPN.com that Knicks rookieÂ Iman ShumpertÂ – one of four dunk-contest entrants alongsideÂ Houston RocketsÂ forwardÂ Chase Budinger,Â Indiana PacersÂ swingmanÂ Paul GeorgeÂ andÂ Minnesota TimberwolvesÂ rookieÂ Derrick WilliamsÂ – will be enlisting Lin to “assist” him in a manner similar to the help 2011 championÂ Blake GriffinÂ got from then-Los Angeles ClippersÂ teammateÂ Baron Davis.
Lin, a second-year point guard, has started six games and led the Knicks to seven straight wins. His strong performance the past two weeks has drawn international attention, including from President Barack Obama, and led to debate about whether he would be invited to participate in All-Star Weekend.
A league source on Thursday confirmed a New York Daily News report that the NBA will make Lin part of the field for the Haier Shooting Stars competition during All-Star Saturday night. That would enable Lin to join Shumpert’s dunk routine as well. NBA commissioner David Stern told USA Today earlier this week that Lin will not be a special late addition to the annual Rising Stars game featuring rookies and second-year players at All-Star Weekend.
Griffin is not defending his dunk title, but sources said that the annual dunk contest has a new format which will consist of only one round and in which the winner will be solely determined by fan vote.
All four competitors in the 2012 dunk field are first-timers and will be formally announced later Thursday, sources said. Each entrant will get three dunks, with fan voting to open after the foursome completes their first dunks.
When Griffin won on his home court at Staples Center last season — most notably leaping over the hood of a car and slamming home a lob from Davis as the former Clipper peered out of the sun roof — dunkers had to complete two rounds, with the first scored by a panel of courtside judges which determined the two finalists.
Only fan voting will be utilized in the new format, via Twitter for the first time, in addition to online and text voting.
WRITTEN BY Marc Stein covers the NBA for ESPN.com & FULL STORY HERE
Follow Marc Stein on Twitter:Â @ESPNSteinLine