NBA teams hoping to scout LaMelo Ball in Australia will have to wait a little longer, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN, who reports that the Illawarra Hawks guard remains out indefinitely due to a foot injury. Ball is still in a walking boot and has been instructed not to put any weigh on his injured foot for at least two more weeks, sources tell Givony.
With the Hawks unlikely to make the National Basketball League playoffs in Australia, it remains to be seen whether Ball will actually return for the team this season. The regular season ends on February 14, so if the youngster isn’t cleared for several more weeks, it may not make sense to have him suit up for the team’s final games.
Givony provides a more positive update on R.J. Hampton, the other probable 2020 lottery pick who is playing in Australia’s NBL this season. According to Givony, Hampton has been cleared to resume full basketball activity as he recovers from a hip injury. The New Zealand Breakers are expected to reintegrate the 18-year-old with a minutes restriction once he’s ready to return, which should happen soon.
Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:
- With non-guaranteed salaries around the NBA set to become guaranteed next week, John Hollinger of The Athletic explores which players are safe and which ones might be at risk. Alfonzo McKinnie (Cavaliers), Derrick Walton (Clippers), and Dragan Bender (Bucks) are among the players in danger of being waived, in Hollinger’s view.
- In an interesting piece for ESPN.com, Jackie MacMullan and Kirk Goldsberry examine the debate over the modernization of NBA big men, speaking to several Hall-of-Fame centers who object to the way that current bigs like Joel Embiid are used.
- Chris Mannix of SI.com published a mailbag in which he discussed the odds of the Celtics making a deadline deal, the Trail Blazers‘ future, the potential return of Darren Collison, and more.