Sure, the lockout could devastate the league in its biggest year since Jordan retired and leave fans without professional basketball until possibly as late as fall of 2012, but there is some good news. You’ll still get to see fringe NBA players diving across the floor and missing baseline jumpers in half-empty gyms while they occupy their off-time at craps tables, praying to any God they can find to come to their aid for either a shot in the pros or a lucky roll at the tables. That’s right. NBA Summer League will go on as planned.
Both Hoopsworld and CBSSports.com report that the league has reached an agreement to hold NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, even if there is a lockout, which would allow NBA personnel (not players) to attend. In short, the two week mecca of B-level basketball will remain largely as is, except without any of the star power that draws in the casual fan with the top picks attending.
D-League players, European players, and undrafted free agents will be eligible to play in the Cox Pavillion and showcase their talents for NBA scouts and GMs who will likely be a little less than intense in their observations (okay, more so than usual under the haze of a hangover from the Mirage). It’s still become a huge event, and with the D-League expected to take an even bigger role after the new CBA is established. Teams need these players, and if the league actually moves towards a legitimate minor league, these are guys they’re going to want to have a line on in case the league kicks the dirt back up again.
The event could still be jeopardized by a massive collapse in talks that would leave both sides so far apart the possibility of play in 2011-2012 is eliminated, but it’s more likely the two sides will at least have half the bridge built on each side enough in order to want to hold the event. Get your popcorn and discount swag ready! Summer League looks to return in 2011, lockout or no lockout.