Like fellow 2020 prospect R.J. Hampton, LaMelo Ball will play in Australia’s NBL next season. After announcing his decision on ESPN’s The Jump on Monday (link via ESPN’s Jonathan Givony), Ball made it official, signing with the Illawarra Hawks for the 2019/20 season. According to Givony, Ball signed a two-year contract, but it has NBA out clauses.
Having spent a year playing in Lithuania, Ball was unlikely to be cleared to play for an NCAA program anyway, but he’s still the second potential 2020 first-round pick to join the NBL for the coming season. LaMelo, who is Lonzo Ball‘s younger brother, is ranked by ESPN as the No. 21 prospect in next year’s draft class.
“My agents did a ton of research on the options I had to play this coming season, and Australia really made sense for me,” Ball told ESPN. “They have a really strong league, with excellent coaches and great players, including former and future NBA players, and great strength and conditioning programs. My goal is to be the top pick in next year’s draft, and I feel they can help me reach that goal. Also, the timing of the season works well with the timing of next year’s draft.”
Meanwhile, the Illawarra Hawks also appear poised to add a former NBA guard to their roster, as Lachy Reid of Channel Ten and Olgun Uluc of FOX Sports Australia (Twitter links) report that Aaron Brooks is set to join the Australian club (hat tip to Sportando). Brooks, a longtime NBA point guard, last played in the league in 2017/18 when he appeared in 32 games for the Timberwolves.
Here’s more from around the basketball world:
- Nando De Colo and CSKA Moscow have officially parted ways, the team announced today (via Twitter). De Colo, who previously played for San Antonio and Toronto, hinted during his exit interview that he may look to return to the NBA this summer (Twitter link via Dmitry Planidin of DefPenHoops), as was previously rumored. The Raptors still hold the right of first refusal on De Colo as an NBA free agent.
- Former Lakers and Rockets center Tarik Black officially re-signed with Maccabi Tel Aviv, the Israeli club announced on its website (hat tip to Sportando). The new deal reportedly includes an NBA opt-out this year and next, per Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.
- Danny Leroux of The Athletic explores the cap implications of the Anthony Davis blockbuster from the Pelicans‘ and Lakers‘ perspective.
- ESPN’s Brian Windhorst checks in on the latest free agency buzz, providing updates on Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, and more.