It’s quickly growing into one of the must-see events on the NBA calendar — the D-League Showcase.
It took place last weekend in Santa Cruz, Calif. All 18 D-League teams came in played in one tournament event, showcasing the league’s talent, and allowing scouts and GMs one-stop shopping to get an in-person look at players they may want to try out on 10-day contracts. Already guys such as James Michael McAdoo, JaMychal Green, Quincy Miller and Tyrus Thomas got contracts out of the event. Plus, with all those front office people in one place trade rumors are flying off the walls.
The challenge for the league is becoming where to host it. The plan so far has been to move it around various D-League cities, but to be blunt as the event grows not every team and city has the facilities to accommodate the Showcase (arena, hotel rooms near the arena, restaurants, etc.). Plus, the front office types are willing to go to somewhere like Santa Cruz (and Reno before that) but would they return to Sioux Falls? Would they travel to Bakersfield?
They would travel to Las Vegas — home of the growing NBA Summer League — and the league has considered that kind of move, reports Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com.
The D-League is considering Las Vegas as a future stop for the Showcase even though the city does not have a team, commissioner Malcolm Turner said, a move that would deepen ties between the parent NBA and the gambling mecca….
“It’s one that we’re exploring,” Turner said. “It’s too early to say whether or not that is a strong possibility, but I think there are a lot of reasons why we would find it an attractive market to go to. Obviously that would work counter to … our teams hosting the Showcase. But Vegas is an interesting market for a lot of reasons.
“With NBA summer league in Vegas, we’ve had very good and strong experiences in Vegas. And certainly logistically and infrastructure wise, clearly that’s an easy box to check versus potentially some of the markets where we’re playing the D-League clearly there are some logistical hurdles. Las Vegas is set up to host big and significant events. That takes a lot of that (those hurdles) off the table.”
It may ultimately depend on the size of the showcase.
As a boutique event, hosting it in D-League cities makes a lot of sense. Why not bring it to Austin to promote the Toros, or to Canton to promote the Charge? If the city has the facilities, they should be able to host.
But as the event grows — and the showcase is growing as are the number of teams in the D-League — that list of cities will shrink. Then Vegas becomes a viable option. I’m not sure if the D-League Showcase is there yet, I don’t know if it needs to find a permanent home in Vegas.
But that day may be coming, sooner rather than later.