Sad news came Friday for basketball junkies, as the NBA announced its traditional Vegas Summer League will be canceled for 2011. After the NBA's bargaining session with players and union officials on Friday, the league's deputy commissioner Adam Silver told reporters that summer league, which draws thousands of fans to Las Vegas over a few weeks in July, would be canceled "as a function of the calendar."
Reports have suggested for months that summer league would die this season based on the assumed NBA lockout, which could begin July 1. If there is a lockout, free agency would be pushed from its normal July 1 start and teams would not be allowed to contact players under contract or sign rookies from the 2011 NBA Draft, scheduled for June 23. That kind of kills the point of summer league, which is to give rookies, young players and unsigned free agents a chance to get acclimated to their team and play under an NBA coaching staff.
It's also become a popular way for fans to see pro-level (if sloppy and inconsistent) basketball in an intimate, affordable setting.