Pacers must find new home for summer league

The Indiana Pacers will need a new home for the summer league play next July.

The Orlando Magic will no longer be hosting teams to Florida, according to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel, something they had done annually since 2002.

Most of the league, 24 teams in all, spend nearly two weeks in Las Vegas in what has become the official site of summer league. The Pacers, though, were among the eight teams that chose Orlando instead, along with Charlotte, Dallas, Detroit, Miami, New York, Oklahoma City.

Team officials, specifically Larry Bird, preferred Orlando because the focus was on basketball. One game was played at a time on the Magic’s practice court. No tickets were sold, meaning there were no fans cheering or seeking autographs. It was limited to team officials, media, and agents.

With Bird stepping down as president and Kevin Pritchard taking over, Pritchard planned to consider the team’s other options anyways.

“One of the things that makes Orlando challenging is that it’s really during free agency,” Pritchard told before the season. “And so at least if you get another four or five days, maybe you don’t have that rush. We’re going to look at it.”

Free agency begins on July 1 but by then, the Pacers’ summer league team, plus coaches and medical staff, are already down in Orlando. Each team played five games from July 1-6.

Pacers executives Kevin Pritchard, Larry Bird, and Peter Dinwiddie … plus Mad Ants GM Brian Levy and Pro Scout Vance Catlin at Summer League.

I enjoyed the setting down in Orlando. And it was just easy. Players and coaches were at ease and not bombarded by fans. But Vegas is now home, and it’s games are showcased in front of thousands inside the Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion. The 17,000-seat arena sold out multiple times last July due to the growing interest in the game and because of the Los Angeles Lakers’ young talent.

This past July, I opted to cover Vegas Summer League for the first time rather than going to Orlando and it was an entirely different experience. The entire NBA community is out there, which is helpful. The Pacers video coordinators were out there for a conference on the software they use daily, team officials were evaluating talent, and agents are there to mingle.

The Utah Jazz host a four-day summer league but only four teams participated.

The Orlando Magic’s practice gym where summer league games were held.

One Response to Pacers must find new home for summer league
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    November 7, 2018 | 9:21 am

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