The Heat will still have Las Vegas.
But Orlando is no longer an option.
The Heat will have to alter its summer league schedule next summer with the Orlando Sentinel reporting that the Magic has chosen not to host its event and instead will take part in the Las Vegas event.
The Heat was one of eight NBA teams that participated in the Orlando league this past summer and also one of 24 that took part in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.
The Utah Jazz also has its own summer league, which takes place before the Las Vegas tournament.
The difference may have been the popularity of Las Vegas’ event over Orlando.
The Las Vegas site featured games in front of crowds at both the Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion on the UNLV campus. The Orlando Pro Summer League was closed to the public and games were played in front of coaches and team officials.
Orlando had hosted a summer league 14 times since 2002.
“The pendulum is swinging toward teams playing in Vegas,” Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman told the Orlando Sentinel. “It’s a level of competition and a level of exposure when more or less every team in the league is there and you’re playing in front of 20,000 people as opposed to playing in a gym with a few hundred people. So it better prepares you for what NBA life is really about with the crowds, the pressure, the travel — a lot of what you’re going to have to confront. Obviously, it’s not a true test of an NBA season, but it’s a little taste.”
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Miami has not thought about starting its own summer league to potentially make up for having one less event.
“The thought with the league is the Las Vegas summer league is getting bigger,” You end up having two weeks worth of games anyway so we’ll just try to maximize that and see if we can get some more games. I don’t know if we’ll be able to match the amount of games we had for doing both. There’s pros and cons. We get a lot of work and we’ll be able to adjust and not necessarily feel like we’ve been out there for six weeks.”
Guard Derrick Walton, Jr. was back with the Heat and active for Sunday’s game.
Walton, Jr. previously spent eight of his 45 days allowed with the Heat per his two-way contract. He appeared in one game and played one minute and eight seconds and went scoreless.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra didn’t attribute the move to a need for depth at the position.
“[Sioux Falls] doesn’t play another game for a while so we thought it was a good time for him to be with us,” Spoelstra said. “ It’s more about development. We feel like we can roll with what we have.”
In three games so far this season with the Skyforce, Walton is averaging 15.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 8.0 assists in 34.3 minutes per game while shooting 42.5 percent from the field and 30.8 percent from three-point range.