Magic To No Longer Hold Annual Orlando Summer League, Will Play In Las Vegas In '18
The Magic will "not hold their annual summer league in Orlando next year and will participate instead in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas," according to Josh Robbins of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. The decision is a "radical departure for the Magic, who ran and managed their own summer league" since '02. Magic President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman said, "The pendulum is swinging toward teams playing in Las Vegas. 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" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 11/19). SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's John Lombardo notes eight teams "played in the weeklong Orlando summer league this past July at Amway Center." Teams were "notified earlier this month" that the Magic were closing the league. Magic CEO Alex Martins said, "The Las Vegas event has become a big event in the summer months and the NBA world is centered on it. We thought it was in our best interests to move there." Lombardo notes the closure of the Orlando Pro Summer League "likely means that the Las Vegas summer league next year for the first time will have all 30 NBA teams participating" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 11/20 issue).
DOUBLE DIPPING: In Ft. Lauderdale, Ira Winderman notes the Heat were "one of few teams to devote nearly a month" to participating in summer leagues in both Orlando and Las Vegas. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said that he does "not foresee the Heat starting their own summer league, an event the team ran early in its 30-year history." The Heat often "would put their focus on the Orlando league, then stagger player appearances in the Las Vegas event, which is run in a tournament format." The Heat also have "used the event for coaching development" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 11/20).