The NBA may have all 30 teams at the Las Vegas Summer League next summer, because the Orlando Magic are shutting down their own Summer League, which has been operating since 2002.
Last year, the Orlando league had eight teams, down from 10 in previous years. Six of the eight – Charlotte, Detroit, Indiana, New York, Oklahoma City and Orlando – only played in the Orlando Summer League, with the league’s other 24 teams in Las Vegas (and four of the 24 also playing in Utah).
The Orlando Sentinel‘s Josh Robbins has the story:
The decision is a radical departure for the Magic, who ran and managed their own summer league in Central Florida 14 times since 2002.
But the decision also doesn’t impact Magic fans who are based in Orlando because the Orlando Pro Summer League was closed to the public. The only way fans could watch the games was to tune in on TV.
NBA Summer League games in Las Vegas are held in two adjoining arenas on the UNLV campus, the Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion.
“The pendulum is swinging toward teams playing in Vegas,” Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said.
“It’s a level of competition and a level of exposure when more or less every team in the league is there and you’re playing in front of 20,000 people as opposed to playing in a gym with a few hundred people. So it better prepares you for what NBA life is really about with the crowds, the pressure, the travel — a lot of what you’re going to have to confront. Obviously, it’s not a true test of an NBA season, but it’s a little taste.”