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Australia’s NBL still in pursuit of LaMelo Ball, LaVar to decide soon

LaVar Ball, LaMelo Ball

Lonzo Ball isn’t the only high-profile member of his family who will continue his basketball career anew next season. According to Marc Stein of The New York Times, LaMelo Ball, the younger brother of the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, is being courted by Australia’s National Basketball League to sign a “Next Stars” contract, a program meant to provide an alternative path to the NBA for high-level young prospects who would rather play professionally than spend a year in college before becoming eligible for the draft.

LaMelo Ball posted on Instagram over the weekend that a decision on his immediate playing future would be “coming soon.” A 6-foot-6 guard with deep shooting range and impressive court sense, Ball is generally considered one of the top-25 players in the high school class of 2019.

His father, LaVar Ball, said in late March that LaMelo would play professionally in “either China or Australia” next season instead of playing college basketball and running the risk of being investigated for breaking the NCAA’s amateurism rules, while also ruling out the G-League as a possible next stop on his youngest son’s journey to the league.

“I’m going to let you know the plan know so everyone can just stop,” LaVar Ball said, per Lonzo Wire via AB the HERO! on YouTube. With college, I already knew what they were about to do. ‘We’re going to investigate, we’re not going to let him play until we let him play, LaVar. We’re not going to let you do all that big mouth talking and then we’re going to hold him back and a whole year goes by.’ The G League … I’m not going to let no 28, 29-year-old dudes tee off on him. He’s trying to make a name for himself, so he’s definitely going overseas … to either Australia or China.”

The Los Angeles Lakers agreed on Saturday to trade Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, the No. 4 pick in this year’s draft, and two additional future first-round picks to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for six-time All-Star Anthony Davis.