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NBA denies report summer league has been canceled

With a lockout looking more and more likely, the New York Daily News reported Wednesday that the NBA has decided to cancel the Las Vegas Summer League.

However, NBA spokesman Mike Bass said no decision has been made regarding the showcase for each year’s top draft picks as well as second- and third-year players.

The summer league, which has been played in Las Vegas since 2004, remains scheduled for July 8 to 17 at Cox Pavilion and the Thomas & Mack Center with a 22-team field.

Warren LeGarie, who helps run the summer league for the NBA, said: "Nobody at the league has told me we’re shut down. So until the NBA tells us we’re not playing, this thing goes on as scheduled July 8."

The collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and its players expires June 30. If the sides fail to reach a new deal by then, the league will probably lock out its players, preventing them from participating in any NBA-sanctioned events, such as the summer league.

Thomas & Mack Center officials have set aside two other sets of dates — July 18 to 31 and Aug. 12 to 20 — in case the NBA decides to conduct the summer league after missing the original dates, according to Daren Libonati, who oversees booking for the Thomas & Mack and Cox Pavilion.

"We’ve had secondary dates for some time," Libonati said. "We’re in constant contact with the NBA, and we have not abandoned any of those dates yet. If they’re ready to play at some point, we want to be ready to have them.

"But there’s probably going to come a point soon where we’re going to have to look at filling some of those dates. We’ve already lost a lot of booking opportunities, and we’re probably handcuffed for July."

The potential cancellation of the summer league, which attracted 4,079 fans per session last year, would not have a significant economic impact on the city, Las Vegas Events president Pat Christenson said.

"The summer league attracts mostly locals," he said. "Yes, fans do visit from other NBA cities to watch their teams in the summer league. But it doesn’t have the same impact as the prep basketball tournaments that come here every July."

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.

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