Bulls guard Zach LaVine wants to try 3-point contest before dunk contest at All-Star Weekend
For the second time in two weeks, LaVine said he still was undecided about taking part in the dunk contest again. What he’s really hoping for is a chance to show off his long-range skills.
DALLAS — Bulls guard Zach LaVine was vague again Monday when discussing a possible return to the dunk contest during All-Star Weekend for the second time in the last couple of weeks.
‘‘I’ve got some tricks still left,’’ LaVine said. ‘‘If the stars align right, they will be shown.’’
What would such an alignment entail? First, LaVine has to feel healthy. Go ahead and check that box for now.
Second, being voted to the All-Star Game would make the contest more of a possibility, especially because the festivities will be held next month at the United Center. That box might be tougher to check right now, especially with LaVine fifth in fan voting in the first count.
Finally, LaVine would love to be invited to take part in the three-point contest and might think about participating in both headline events leading up to the game.
That’s a lot of ifs.
‘‘I don’t have a whole lot to prove in [the dunk contest],’’ said LaVine, who has won it twice. ‘‘I’d love to do it for the fans and the hometown. I want to make sure that my body feels right.
‘‘I’m more focused on winning games, being in the All-Star Game. I feel like that would give me something more to do when I’m there. Obviously, I want to do something over the weekend. I want to do the three-point contest; I’ll do that.
‘‘I think there will be an opportunity for me to do [the dunk contest]. I need some time to practice, but I’m still mulling over the decision. [I’ll] figure it out in a couple of weeks, probably.’’
LaVine said he doesn’t know the deadline for him to give his decision, but he is hoping the league will be patient with him.
Lakers center Dwight Howard and Grizzlies guard Ja Morant have been rumored to be candidates for the contest, and high-flying Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr. is already in.
LaVine didn’t seem intimidated by any of that talk. When it comes to dunking, he seldom is.
‘‘I still think I can go out and win,’’ LaVine said. ‘‘Obviously, if I do it, I think I’ll prepare myself enough to win it. But it will be tough to top myself, you know? I gotta think of some new stuff.
‘‘What else can I do? But I’ve still got some tricks. I’m not going to give away my whole game plan.’’
As far as the three-point contest, it wouldn’t be a stretch for the NBA to ask him to participate. Entering play Monday, LaVine was seventh in the league in three-pointers made this season with 113. Sure, he was 39th in three-point percentage at .398, but he has been more confident shooting it.
‘‘I don’t think anyone has me winning a dunk contest and a three-point contest, so I’ll try that one out,’’ LaVine said. ‘‘I think they’ll probably be more obligated to let me do [the three-point contest] if I do a dunk contest, too.
‘‘I would love to go out there and do that, and I think I’ll show them what I was known for before — just being a dunker — is out the window. To win a three-point contest I think would be historic, as well.’’
The Bulls activated forward Chandler Hutchison for their game against the Mavericks after he was out for six weeks with a shoulder injury. He was scoreless in six minutes.
Coach Jim Boylen said that Hutchison had a unique injury and that his toughness shouldn’t be questioned.