New York • The NBA is leaving it up to the fans to determine the winner of the All-Star slam dunk contest.
Defending champion Blake Griffin passed on returning, leaving a lackluster field of New York’s Iman Shumpert, Paul George of Indiana, rookie Derrick Williams of Minnesota and Houston’s Chase Budinger.
Jeremy Evans, the Utah Jazz’s most likely candidate, was not invited to the contest.
The league announced Thursday that there no longer will be judges in the event, which also will be reduced to one round. Each contestant will execute three dunks. Fans will determine the champion by voting on NBA.com, Twitter or through text messaging.
The format in recent years was two rounds, with a panel of judges voting on the first round before fan voting in the second.