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Report: NBA warns teams not to scout practices involving LaMelo Ball, RJ Hampton

LaMelo Ball, RJ Hampton, NBA

The NBA has informed teams that they are not permitted to scout practices involving LaMelo Ball and RJ Hampton, two of the projected 2020 top-10 draft picks, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.  The ban stems from interpreting the NBA’s no-contact rules, which prohibits teams from having contact with draft-ineligible players outside of official games, select college practices, and international practices involving only international players.

Ball and Hampton, both born in the U.S. but playing overseas, are currently considered draft-ineligible since they have yet to officially declare for the 2020 NBA Draft through the league office:

Hampton and Ball also are not considered international players under current NBA rules, as they did not maintain a permanent residence outside of the U.S. for at least the three years prior to the draft. Therefore, practices for teams like the [New Zealand] Breakers and [Illawarra] Hawks that have a mixture of draft-ineligible players and players who have already been through the draft process are currently off limits to NBA scouts, based on the league office’s current rule interpretation.

27 NBA scouts were present last month at the recent NBL Blitz in Hobart, Tasmania — with many of them also present at practices for Hampton and Ball. This could result in a fine according NBA rules, but the league has yet to have a final interpretation on the matter.

Hampton and Ball are expected to be high lottery picks in this upcoming draft once they declare, with Ball sitting at No. 3 and Hampton at No. 6 in ESPN’s most recent mock draft.