CLEVELAND - LeBron James isn’t going to stuff too much into his first All-Star weekend after all.
James ended speculation that he might enter Saturday’s slam dunk contest in Los Angeles, saying Wednesday night he would definitely skip the event.
“I’m out! I’m out! I’m out!” he said following a 20-point loss to the New Jersey Nets. “No more questions about the slam dunk.”
Earlier this week, James said he was still mulling over an invitation from the NBA to participate in the dunk contest. He had turned down the league a few weeks ago but on Monday said he was reconsidering.
Two-time defending champion Jason Richardson of Golden State will try to become the first three-time winner as he faces Boston’s Ricky Davis, Denver’s Chris Andersen and Indiana’s Fred Jones.
Although he now says he won’t dunk, James will still have a busy stay in Los Angeles.
He is scheduled to play in Friday’s Rookie Challenge and there is still an outside chance he could be added as an Eastern Conference reserve for Sunday’s game if anyone had to pull out with an injury.
James also has league media obligations to fulfill and some with Nike, who signed him to a six-year, $90 million endorsement deal in May.
Before departing on a private jet for L.A., James was told by Cavs coach Paul Silas to get as much rest as possible this weekend.
“I’m going to get some,” said James, who scored just 9 points in his worst game since early December against the Nets.
Still, James said he has not hit the rookie wall.
“I’m straight,” he said. “I could play again. Any time I go on the court I gain some energy. When we play again, I’ll be ready.”
Silas admits he has been playing his star rookie too much and hopes to cut James’ minutes in the second half of the season.
“It’s a concern,” Silas said. “Forty minutes for anybody is a lot of minutes. He has the body, size, athleticism and mental capability to do that. He’ll need a rest if we’re going to make any kind of a (playoff) push.”
PBT: The Pacers defeated the Heat 97-93 in Game 2 to even the series at 1-1, which now shifts to Indiana.
Video: NBA from NBC Sports
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