NBA teams’ Las Vegas Summer League to offer title for first time

A then-hobbled Lakers Caoch Mike D'Antoni, left, watches his brother, assistan Dan D'Antoni instruct during a practice last summer.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Suggested slogan for the Las Vegas Summer League: Where champions are made … finally.

For the first time in its 10-year history, the summer league will crown a winner through a single-elimination tournament featuring all 22 participating NBA teams.

It may not be March Madness, but July Jubilation seems sort of catchy.


“It’s going to make the summer league more competitive,” said Josh Selby, a guard on the Lakers’ summer team and the reigning summer league co-most valuable player along with Portland’s Damian Lillard. “Everybody wants to win.”

The Lakers and Clippers are among the teams that open play Friday with preliminary games at Cox Pavilion; the Clippers play the Atlanta Hawks at 3 p.m. and the Lakers face the Cleveland Cavaliers and former Lakers Coach Mike Brown at 5 p.m.

The tournament portion of the schedule starts Wednesday and runs through the championship game July 22.

All of the Lakers’ games will be televised by Time Warner Cable SportsNet, and all of the Clippers’ games will be carried by Prime Ticket.

The Lakers’ roster features a few familiar names, including center Robert Sacre, who recently signed a one-year contract for just under $1 million, and forward Chris Douglas-Roberts, one of the final players cut in training camp last fall. Power forward Ryan Kelly, the Lakers’ second-round draft pick in June, will not play because he is recovering from a foot injury.

“I know there’s some talent out here that’s as good as we’ve coached in the NBA,” said Dan D’Antoni, the Lakers’ summer league coach and the brother of Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni.

The Clippers’ roster includes shooting guard Reggie Bullock, their first-round draft pick, as well as point guard Maalik Wayns and small forward DaJuan Summers, who each played in a handful of NBA games last season.

Though Tyronn Lue, an assistant under new Clippers Coach Doc Rivers, will serve as the team’s summer league coach, Rivers is also expected to be in attendance.

Mike D’Antoni is also scheduled to be around, though his older sibling said he didn’t want him on the Lakers’ bench.

“That’s too close,” Dan D’Antoni joked. “You think I want to listen to that? Oh my God, are you kidding me? No, I’m going to try to put him as far back as I can and not look at him the whole day.”