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Lakers Rumors: Alex Caruso Declined Invitation to 2021 NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IIMarch 2, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers' Alex Caruso (4) dunks on a drive to the basket during the first half of Game 1 of basketball's NBA Finals Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers reserve Alex Caruso won't be appearing in this year's Slam Dunk Contest during All-Star Weekend on Sunday. 

According to The Athletic's Bill Oram, the 27-year-old declined an invite to the dunk contest in favor of more time away from the gym. Caruso told reporters last week he was looking forward to the break after such a short offseason.

"I'll probably just play some golf with some buddies and leave it at that," Caruso said. 

The Texas A&M product has been floated for the dunk contest in the past given his propensity to take flight whenever possible in the NBA. But speaking with Marc Stein of The New York Times in January 2020, Caruso explained his skillset doesn't exactly fit with the competition. 

“That’s like a different breed of dunker," Caruso said. "I’m a good in-game dunker—fast breaks, tip dunks, stuff like that. But I don’t have the off-the-bounce, between-the-legs dunks."

The field for the 2021 dunk contest will reportedly feature at least one player who's been known to show off his hops whenever possible—New York Knicks rookie Obi Toppin. 

One of the fiercest dunk artists in college basketball last year will get his first true turn in the national spotlight since he was selected No. 8 overall by the Knicks in November. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowksi, he's expected to be joined in the field by Indiana Pacers rookie Cassius Stanley and Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons. 

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New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson previously said he's open to participating in the dunk contest but hasn't given a firm decision one way or the other. 

At least now Williamson knows if he enters he won't have to face Caruso. 

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