No rest for Leslie
NBL of Canada head coach scouting and coaching in Las Vegas
At this time of the year, Las Vegas is a goldmine of sorts for aspiring professional basketball players, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Halifax Hurricanes head coach Mike Leslie has found his way down to Sin City.
For the next two weeks Leslie – who is coming off a runner-up finish in the National Basketball League of Canada – will be keeping an eye out for some of the best talent outside of the NBL converging stateside.
The NBA Las Vegas Summer League goes from July 7 to 17 along with the NBA Gatorade League (formerly NBA Development League) affiliated events during that span.
Leslie, however, finds himself recruiting and coaching at the global basketball summer league – a showcase that dubs itself ‘the best summer league outside of the NBA.’
“Las Vegas is a sort of a destination in the first two weeks of July for summer basketball events,” Leslie said. “Of course there’s the NBA Summer League and the G-League, but there’s also five other major basketball combines that are hosted during that time to identify players for contracts.
“That’s where I’m at right now. Over the next six days, 140 players will come through.”
Although Leslie was already planning a trip to gauge the talent in the hoops hotbed, it was actually a player agent who reached out and asked if he would be willing to take a hands-on approach.
Discussions with NBA-affiliated coaches highlight the trip, but most important is realizing the reality of the NBLC.
“It’s not that we want to break up the roster but other players have other opportunities and it’s more of a salary cap situation,” he said. “It’s almost impossible to bring them all back.”
According to Leslie, a few players have already expressed their interest to return but with protected players list – a time period in the off-season that gives teams exclusive rights to retain a select few players before hitting free agency – not yet released, he couldn’t elaborate further.
Either way, it seem sit will be a busy off-season.
“I’ll probably head over to Fort Lauderdale in early August . . . there is also a summer league in New York, so I might slip down there because have three of our players who are supposed to be playing in that.”
Mike Leslie, a former athletic director at Three Oaks Senior High School in Summerside and principal at Kinkora Regional High School, coaches the Halifax Hurricanes during a National Basketball League of Canada game.