The Jazz have never participated in the nine-year history of the Las Vegas Summer League despite their close proximity, and it has nothing to do with any type of faux moral outrage over the event being held in Sin City.
The reasons have been much more personal.
Utah once hosted a summer league of its own called the Rocky Mountain Revue, but the Vegas version became more appealing to teams and essentially put the Utah one out of business. The Jazz have held a grudge ever since, but have agreed to put that aside and will send a team to Las Vegas this summer.
But the Jazz, which has had a connection to Las Vegas going back to the mid-1980s when it played some of its home games at the Thomas & Mack Center, has had an apparent change of heart. It will field a team for the first time when the NBA Summer League tips off its 11-day run July 11 at the Thomas &Mack and Cox Pavilion for what will be its 10th anniversary season of competition. …
“Las Vegas has always supported the Jazz, and it was clearly a consensus among my staff that Utah needed to be included,” said Warren LeGarie, who founded the summer league and helps run the event for the NBA. “I think it was just a matter of being persistent, and persistency won out. …
“Having our training camp in Orlando was difficult for us, and we felt it was time to move forward,” Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey said. “We feel there’s a natural tie-in with Las Vegas, and it’ll be great for our fans to follow us and be able to see our young players. We’re very excited about the move.”
The Orlando Summer League is very different than the one held in Vegas, in that it’s completely off limits to fans. Games are held on one of the practice courts inside the Amway Center, with only team personnel and media allowed in to witness the action.
The event in Las Vegas is hoping to continue to grow and become more of an off-season attraction, and adding a team like Utah that’s just a short drive away is only going to help in getting that goal accomplished.