Mississauga is no longer home to the G League Showcase. In a move that’s been an open secret for months, the G League is getting closer to announcing that its marquee annual event will move to Las Vegas beginning with the 2018-19 season, and a report from 2 Ways and 10 Days on Monday pegs the mini-tournament for Dec. 19-22 at Mandalay Bay this year.
This shouldn’t be taken as a knock on the Toronto Raptors organization, as the league was fond of the way Raptors 905 hosted the event in each of the last two seasons. G League president has referred to the 905 as a “model” franchise for other G League teams to follow, and hosting two events of that scope at Paramount Fine Foods Centre has been quite an accomplishment. The 905 are expected to consult and aid in the transition of the event to Las Vegas, as well, with the last two years standing as the benchmark for how the event should run.
As the league and event continue to grow, though, there was a need for greater court, hotel, and resource capacity, more than any one individual franchise should be expected to contribute in-season. In moving the event to Vegas, where the league has made consistent inroads as a de facto second home through Las Vegas Summer League, the Aces WNBA franchise, USA Basketball camps, and more, the G League will have a dedicated mid-season home that doesn’t disrupt the regular flow of business and allows for league executives to converge for a sort of mid-season summit, the winter version of Summer League so to speak. Moving the event to December also allows G League players top try to make an impression ahead of the window opening up for 10-day contracts and the guarantee date for two-way contracts, providing some additional runway for decision-makers (last year, the event was a flurry of two-way activity as teams looked to massage the maximum number of NBA days, and it distracted from the actual “showcase” element a bit).
All told, this seems like a positive move for the league and a small relief for the 905, who did an excellent job with an exhausting event in back-to-back years.