After 14 years, the Orlando Summer League is coming to an end. In 2018, the Magic will join the majority of the NBA in Las Vegas for Summer League action in the desert rather than hosting their own, according to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel.
The Orlando Summer League began the first week of July at the start of the new NBA year and offered teams a cheaper Summer League alternative to Las Vegas. However, with the growth of Vegas Summer League to include 24 teams last season and the emergence of Utah Summer League the week before Vegas much closer, Orlando (which hosted eight teams in 2017) decided to end their week-long league.
“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.”
Orlando’s version was much smaller, with only media and NBA personnel in attendance for games on their practice court, compared to what’s become of the Vegas experience at the Thomas & Mack Center (and Cox Pavilion). With Orlando closing its doors, we’re likely going to come much closer to all 30 teams participating in Vegas in 2018. The six teams that didn’t participate in Vegas in 2017 (Charlotte, Detroit, Indiana, New York, Oklahoma City, and Orlando) all played in Orlando instead.