Hours after the door shut on the 2023 NBA Draft, fans of L.A.’s two professional basketball teams can already start planning to see their newest players when the NBA Summer League begins next month.
It won’t take very long for fans of the Los Angeles Lakers to see the latest crop of NBA draftees and league hopefuls.
The Lakers will compete in the California Classic tournament in Sacramento in the first week of July. The California Classic is part of the NBA Summer League schedule and is hosted annually by one of the state’s NBA teams and has featured the Sacramento Kings, the Golden State Warriors, the Miami Heat and the Lakers in recent years.
This year, the San Antonio Spurs and the Charlotte Hornets (owners of the top 2 picks in Thursday’s NBA Draft) are also joining the fold.
No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama told reporters Friday that he planned to participate in some capacity in the 2023 Summer League. The extent to which the French phenom will play remains to be seen.
The Lakers will get their first crack at Wemby and the Spurs (if he plays) on Wednesday, July 5. They’ll open the annual exhibition tournament two days earlier against the Miami Heat.
The Lakers will then travel to Las Vegas to compete in the highly anticipated and often-raucous Vegas Summer League.
They’ll open the Vegas tournament against the Golden State Warriors at 8 p.m. on Friday, July 7.
The Lakers Summer League schedule so far looks like this:
- July 3: Lakers vs. Miami Heat at 6 p.m. (California Classic)
- July 5: Lakers vs. San Antonio Spurs at 8 p.m. (California Classic)
- July 7: Lakers vs. Golden State Warriors at 8 p.m.
- July 9: Lakers vs. Charlotte Hornets at 1 p.m.
- July 12: Lakers vs. Boston Celtics at 7 p.m.
- July 14: Lakers vs. Memphis Grizzlies at 7:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Clippers will have a bit more time to themselves before kicking off competitive play in the NBA Summer League. The Clippers will not be participating in the California Classic, instead beginning play in Vegas on Saturday, July 8, against the Utah Jazz.
The Clippers Summer League schedule is as follows:
- July 8: Clippers vs. Utah Jazz at 7 p.m.
- July 10: Clippers vs. Sacramento Kings at 7:30 p.m.
- July 12: Clippers vs. Memphis Grizzlies at 12:30 p.m.
- July 14: Clippers vs. Philadelphia 76ers at 1:30 p.m.
The Vegas Summer League does eventually crown a champion, meaning both teams will have the opportunity to play additional games as the tournament progresses. Although the exact date for those games is yet to be determined.
The NBA Summer League is an annual showcase series that features both high-profile recent draft picks, sophomore and third-year NBA players, young free agents, and undrafted rookies looking to latch on with an NBA team before the next season begins.
Once considered a skippable procedural obligation on the NBA calendar, the Las Vegas Summer League has turned into a sold out event, with celebrities, reporters, front office higher-ups and current NBA superstars on hand to watch some of the league’s next crop of stars make their NBA debuts.
The Lakers are expected to heavily feature their newest draft picks, Jalen Hood-Schifino (pick 17) and Maxwell Lewis (pick 40), during Summer League. The Clippers will get their first chance to see Kobe Brown (pick 30) and Jordan Miller (pick 48) in action.