LAS VEGAS — By the time Thursday afternoon rolls around and tournament play is well underway at Summer League, few media members, front office executives or coaches actually want to be here.
Everyone is exhausted, both mentally and physically. Seven-straight days of 100-plus degree heat and hours upon hours of meaningless basketball played by mostly NBA journeymen leads to arguments about Cedi Osman and if he’s the difference between the Cavs making and missing the playoffs next season. After spending the week locked inside Thomas & Mack Center you’ve eaten the arena’s staple — Chicken Fingers and Fries — from the concession stand more times than you care to admit.
The players who thousands of fans flocked to UNLV’s campus to see are mostly all shut down by now. Coaches and team personnel are secretly rooting for their team to lose so they can go home early. Running into Robin Lopez at the blackjack table and Adrian Wojnarowski on the strip is a normal Wednesday night. On the plane home, you’re researching juice cleanses and detox supplements.
If you’re still in Las Vegas by Wednesday or Thursday, the first thing a fellow reporter or executive asks you is: “Why are you still here?”
But that’s Summer League, where for 12 days in July everybody and anybody descends into Sin City. The basketball that’s played serves as a front for what’s really a two-week networking seminar. Deals get brokered, people get hired, information gets leaked and maybe a player or two — like Torrey Craig did a year ago – can come out of nowhere to earn a contract.