Australian NBL won't bet on Las Vegas league

MARC HINTON
Last updated 05:00 11/05/2014

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The Australian NBL is set to step away from its grand plan to play a Las Vegas summer hoops league alongside the NBA's own off-season showcase of its emerging talent.

The NBL announced amid much fanfare they were heading to Vegas for a summer initiative they hoped would not only align them closer with the NBA, but also unveil a rich vein of talent to mine for the league.

The idea had been that the NBL's own summer league would trial American players keen to earn jobs in the Australasian league, and teams would also use it to introduce a young player or two to a higher level of competition.

But Breakers chief executive Richard Clarke, who also serves on the NBL's board, confirmed that the Vegas venture was being "reviewed" and was unlikely to go ahead this year.

The NBL board will make a final decision this week, but Clarke said indications at this stage were that they would look to postpone the venture and get it on a firmer footing to debut next year.

"We're reviewing with the promoter whether he would be delivering what he was contracted to deliver," Clarke said. "We don't want to go ahead with it unless it's going to be of the standard we want it to be."

Clarke said the NBL remained determined to press ahead with the Vegas-based summer competition, but that they would take more time to ensure it achieved what the league needed it to.

"There may be better ways to get this done, in terms of the NBL developing a relationship with the NBA. It may be that our coaches get involved with the NBA's summer league in some form.

"This is about taking a strategic view and making sure everything we do is done right and for the right outcomes. There's no point doing it for the sake of it. For our brand it's important what we take into that market is the right product."

Clarke said the likely abandonment of the summer league would not affect the Breakers who would still be sending coach Dean Vickerman to the NBA's summer league for scouting and relationship purposes.

"It's not a major from a club or NBL point of view. We support the view that if it's done it needs to be done properly, and with the right outcomes achieved."

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