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Larry Nance Jr., son of 1st dunk champion, rules out '16 contest

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Lakers rookie forward Larry Nance Jr. has always wanted to follow in his father's footsteps and participate in the NBA's annual slam dunk contest held during All-Star Weekend.

The high-flying Nance -- whose father, Larry Nance Sr., was the league's first dunk contest champion in 1984 -- might have had the opportunity to do so this year, had he not recently injured his right knee.

The league recently reached out to Larry Nance Jr. about the possibility of his being a participant in this year's contest, which will be held Feb. 13 during the NBA All-Star Weekend at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

Although the league didn't extend an official invite -- it was more of a "feeling out" call to gauge interest, Nance told ESPN.com after practice Monday -- the Lakers' training staff ultimately advised Nance against taking part in this year's contest because of the continuous soreness in his right knee that has sidelined him for the past four games.

"That's something that I've always said I've wanted to do at some point," Nance said of the dunk contest. "With the recent [injury] in my knee and everything, I don't want to go against the training staff's advice.

"This year might not be in the cards, per [the training staff's] request, but it's still something I personally would love to do in the near future. Next year, if [the NBA] wanted me, I would love to."

Nance said he agreed with the assessment from the Lakers' training staff.

"They do a terrific job of watching out for us," he said, "and I don't want to irritate that or step on any toes or do anything that would be detrimental to my career."

Nance is still hopeful that he will be asked to participate in the dunk contest -- perhaps as soon as next year. In his spare time, he's thinking of creative dunks that might help him win.

"I'm still trying to come up with a solid arsenal," he said. "I've got a year to work on it."

Larry Nance Sr. recently told ESPN.com that if his son is ever asked to participate in the dunk contest, he will be happy to offer whatever advice he can.

"He can already do everything I did now," Larry Nance Sr. said with a laugh. "I don't know what kind of old man stuff I can help him with. If he ever gets invited to be in the slam dunk contest, I'm sure I'll spend some nights awake trying to come up with some stuff."

He said his son is already a better leaper than he ever was.

"I could jump really well, but he's just so much stronger, and he just jumps so much easier than I did," he said. "I'll give it to him. I had my day. And nothing makes me prouder, nothing makes me prouder -- trust me -- than if he just flat-out out-dunks me."

The Lakers' only dunk contest champion was Kobe Bryant in 1997.

Larry Nance Jr. was the 27th overall pick in the first round of the 2015 draft. The former University of Wyoming standout is averaging 6.0 points and 5.0 rebounds in 37 games for the Lakers.

He had been moved to the starting lineup in early December and likely will return to the starting lineup Tuesday, when the Lakers face the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center, coach Byron Scott said Monday.