Basketball staycation: The guide for 2018 summer hoops


The NBA summer league, the most high-profile fix for hoops junkies in the absence of the NBA for a few months, is approaching.
Even when summer league ends, though, there will be more than enough quality hoops this summer to hold fans over until NBA training camps open in late September:
NBA summer league
Sacramento and Salt Lake City (July 2-3, 5), Las Vegas (July 6-17)
For the first time ever, all 30 NBA teams will be participating in the MGM Resorts Summer League in Las Vegas. Before that, the inaugural California Classic in Sacramento will debut (RIP, Orlando Summer League). The Northern California summer exhibition will feature the Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat. The official start of the summer league schedule will be in Utah, where the Memphis Grizzlies and Atlanta Hawks will play at 7 p.m. ET on July 2, followed by the San Antonio Spurs and Utah Jazz.
WNBA
Regular season in progress; All-Star Game on July 28
While the NBA just came off a fourth straight Warriors-Cavaliers Finals, the WNBA is coming off of two straight Finals featuring the 2017 champion Minnesota Lynx and 2016 champion Los Angeles Sparks. The Lynx also won the title in 2015, and each of the past three WNBA Finals has reached a fifth and deciding game.
This year, the Sparks are off to the best start in the WNBA, while the Lynx are hovering around .500. The WNBA also announced a new format to the All-Star Game, where two captains will draft from a pool of All-Stars regardless of conference, similar to the NBA.
Pro-ams
In progress through August
There are pro-am (professional-amateur) basketball leagues all over the country, from New York (Dyckman and Hoops in the Sun), Washington, D.C. (Goodman), Seattle (Jamal Crawford's Crawsover) and Los Angeles (The Drew and Venice).
Things really start to pick up in July. That's when the restrictions preventing NBA players under contract are lifted, permitting them to participate -- usually unannounced. The Drew League featured a game last year that had Houston Rockets teammates James Harden and Chris Paul along with 2018 draftee Marvin Bagley III. You never know what you will get from this particular summer pool.
The Basketball Tournament
Championship game: Aug. 3 (on ESPN)
Sixty-four teams are in a bracket with $2 million up for grabs. All games are on ESPN networks, and Zach Lowe described the crunch-time element called Elam Ending that will be in place for all 71 games.
The team to watch is Overseas Elite, winners of the past three tournaments. The action here starts June 29.
BIG3
Championship game: Aug. 24

The BIG3 is back for a second summer with the league tipping off Friday night in Houston, the former basketball hometown of commissioner Clyde Drexler. Trilogy won the title last year with a team that featured Kenyon Martin and Al Harrington.
"We feel like we have the professional version of 3-on-3; FIBA and the Olympics are focusing on the amateur version of 3-on-3 basketball," BIG3 founder Ice Cube said.
Players making their BIG3 debuts include Baron Davis and Metta World Peace, while Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman will be the first woman to be a head coach of a men's professional team this summer.
"When I suggested Nancy as a coach, the conversation went immediately to her on court skills as a player," BIG3 chairman of the board Amy Trask said. "She assistant coached for us last year for I think one game, but the entire discussion was focused on her qualifications, and there was not one moment devoted to a consideration of her gender."
Ian Begley contributed to this story.