LiAngelo Ball

And-Ones: Ball Brothers, Payton, G. Green, Draft

Lonzo Ball‘s younger brothers are set to remain stateside after spending a portion of the 2017/18 season in Lithuania. Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link) reported earlier this week that LiAngelo Ball has let G League teams know of his intent to sign a contract with the league. The NBAGL formally notifies its teams when a player enters the player pool, and as of this afternoon, there had been no official word on Ball, per Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days (Twitter link). Still, that should happen soon.

Meanwhile, LaMelo Ball, the younger brother of Lonzo and LiAngelo, told Franklyn Calle of Slam that he’ll play high school ball this season. LaMelo, who said that he’s “excited” to return to high school for his senior year, is enrolling at prep school Spire Institute in Geneva, Ohio, according to Calle.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Elfrid Payton‘s one-year, $3MM contract with the Pelicans was hardly one of the summer’s major deals, but New Orleans has badly missed Payton while he has been sidelined with an ankle injury. Scott Kushner of The Advocate has the story on the point guard, who was injured during the Pelicans’ first loss of the season and has seen his team go 1-5 since then.
  • After being in camp with the Pelicans this fall, Garlon Green has signed with Russian club Khimki, according to an official announcement from the team (hat tip to Sportando). Green, the younger brother of Rockets swingman Gerald Green, was waived by New Orleans along with Jarrett Jack at the end of the preseason.
  • With the 2018/19 NCAA season underway, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today has published his first NBA mock draft for 2019. Meanwhile, Alberto De Roa of HoopsHype identifies several of the top international prospects who could declare for the 2019 draft.

And-Ones: Long, LiAngelo Ball, Spain

Ex-Sixers forward Shawn Long has signed a contract with New Zealand Breakers, according to a Sportando report. Long played 18 games with Philadelphia in 2016/2017, averaging 8.2 PPG and 4.7 RPG in 13 MPG. He toiled in the G League last season with the Delaware 87ers, averaging 14.6 PPG and 7.7 RPG in 33 games following a seven-game stint in China. The Timberwolves took a look at Long during a free agent mini-camp in June.

We have more from around the pro basketball world:

West Draft Workouts: Blazers, Kings, Carter, Warriors

Several of the Trail Blazers‘ previously-reported workouts are happening today, with Josh Okogie (Georgia Tech), Billy Preston (Bosnia), and Landry Shamet (Wichita State) among the prospects paying a visit to the team, per a press release.

In addition to those players, Portland is also taking a closer look at Khyri Thomas (Creighton), Troy Brown (Oregon), MiKyle McIntosh (Oregon), and De’Anthony Melton (USC). All seven of the prospects auditioning for the Trail Blazers today rank within Jonathan Givony’s top 100 at ESPN.com, with several considered viable candidates to be Portland’s pick at No. 24 overall.

Here are more updates on pre-draft works from around the Western Conference:

  • The Kings will be bringing in Duke big man Wendell Carter Jr. for a visit on Saturday, the team announced today. As Sean Cunningham of ABC10 notes (via Twitter), Carter won’t work out during that visit, since Sacramento already saw him work out in Los Angeles last month.
  • LiAngelo Ball is among the prospects participating in a group workout for the Warriors on Friday, according to the team (Twitter link via Mark Medina of The San Jose Mercury News). Nana Foulland (Bucknell), Daxter Miles (West Virginia), Tai Odiase (Chicago-Illinois), Nuni Omot (Baylor), and Duncan Robinson (Michigan) will also take part.
  • International prospect Elie Okobo, who is considered a good bet to come off the board in the second half of the first round, will work out for the Timberwolves this weekend, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News.
  • UNLV’s Brandon McCoy has a workout on tap with the Mavericks and still intends to work out with four or five other teams before draft night, tweets Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington.

Pacific Notes: Ball, Warriors, Cook, Kings, Suns

The Lakers hosted LiAngelo Ball, the younger brother of their point guard, Lonzo Ball, for a pre-draft workout earlier this week. However, it appears that the Lakers’ association with the younger Ball will not go beyond the workout, Marc Stein of the New York Times reports.

Stein noted that there is “pessimism in the extreme” that the Lakers have any interest in LiAngelo, whether it be as an NBA or G League player. Before his workout with the Lakers, LiAngelo indicated that signing with the team and playing with his brother was his main focus.

“The Lakers are my priority, for sure,” LiAngelo said during a recent appearance on the Marcellus and Travis show on ESPNLA radio. “I want to play with my brother. Ever since I played with Zo, we went undefeated. When we get older, we will get stronger, faster and a better feel for the game. I’m willing to play for other teams, but my priority is to play with my brother.”

LiAngelo returned to the United States recently after completing his first professional season overseas with Vytautas Prienu of the Lithuanian league. He averaged 12.6 PPG during his stint. The brothers’ outspoken father, LaVar Ball, had said his goal was to have all three of his sons play together for the Lakers. At this time, that appears unlikely at best.

Check out more Pacific Division notes below:

  • The Warriors accomplished something unprecedented by building an elite, all-time roster as the organization pursues its third championship in four years, In an insightful piece, Mark Medina of the Mercury News writes that Warriors general manager Bob Myers understands that Golden State’s window of dominance will not last forever. “No team should last forever. It’s not good for anybody,” Myers said. “I’m fully aware. I don’t need a reminder from Houston to know how fragile this whole thing is. That’s a part of it. That’s why you have to appreciate it.”
  • Kevin Durant has reiterated his desire to remain with the Warriors as he heads for unrestricted free agency this summer. However, after a close call in the Western Conference Finals, Tim Kawakami of The Athletic (subscription required) wonders whether or not the Warriors’ future is more fragile than expected.
  • Before Quinn Cook became a crucial part of the Warriors‘ roster, he was a promising G League prospect within the Cavaliers organization. Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue viewed Cook as a solid player. In turn, Cook said he took one major lesson from his tenure with Cleveland, Mark Medina of the Mercury News writes. “I took what I learned from there and took some things with me that I still use today,” Cook said. “The biggest thing was being a sponge.”
  • The Suns‘ selection with the first overall pick has been the main focus, but the team also has the 16th overall pick in their possession. Scott Bordow and Jay Dieffenbach of Arizona Central Sports gave their input on who Phoenix may target with the 16th pick.
  • The popular consensus is that international superstar Luka Doncic will be the Kings‘ selection with the second overall pick. Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee writes that the Kings are exploring multiple options with the pick beyond Doncic.

Lakers Notes: Ball Family, Allen, Workouts

LiAngelo Ball, the younger brother of Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball, will take part in a pre-draft workout with the team on Tuesday, per ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk. St. Bonaventure’s Jaylen Adams, UCLA’s Thomas Welsh, Virginia’s Devon Hall, Syracuse’s Tyus Battle and Arizona’s Dusan Ristic are also scheduled for the workout.

LiAngelo returned to the United States recently after completing his first professional season overseas with Vytautas Prienu of the Lithuanian league. He averaged 12.6 PPG during his stint. LiAngelo’s year got off to a rough start after he was arrested in China along with two other UCLA teammates on suspicion of shoplifting. Following his release, LiAngelo left the NCAA and, along with younger brother LaMelo, signed contracts with Vytautas.

“The Lakers are my priority, for sure,” LiAngelo said during a recent appearance on the Marcellus and Travis show on ESPNLA radio. “I want to play with my brother. Ever since I played with Zo, we went undefeated. When we get older, we will get stronger, faster and a better feel for the game. I’m willing to play for other teams, but my priority is to play with my brother.”

Check out more Lakers notes below:

  • LaVar Ball, the patriarch of the Ball family, has never been shy to speak his mind when it comes to his sons and his latest comments are no different. During an interview with Hoops Hype’s Alex Kennedy, LaVar said that Lonzo’s health was compromised due to the Lakers’ training tactics. “My expectation for Lonzo is for him to be twice as good as he was this year, and to be more healthy,” he said. “He understands, he went through it. If you’re going to be doing those [workouts with] rubber-bands like that dude Gunnar has him doing, that [is] bulls–t training. That’s what I call it. S–t, he wasn’t like that when I brought him over there. When he first came [to the Lakers], he never got hurt. He was never hurt.”
  • Duke’s Grayson Allen, one of the more controversial players in this year’s NBA Draft, has shown on-court potential but his composure and attitude have long been questioned. Allen worked out for the Lakers on Friday and Bill Oram of the Orange County Register examined a potential fit between L.A. and the sharpshooting Blue Devil.
  • In addition to Allen, here is the latest list of players to have participated in pre-draft workouts for the Lakers.

Draft Workouts: Jazz, Ball, Ona Embo, Pinson

Armed with the 21st and 52nd overall picks in next month’s draft, the Jazz are taking a look at a wide range of prospects this week, according to the team.

On Tuesday, the Jazz brought in Jaylen Barford (Arkansas), Trevon Bluiett (Xavier), Dwight Coleby (Western Kentucky), Jock Landale (St. Mary’s), Caleb Martin (Nevada), and Kenneth Ogbe (Utah Valley) for auditions (Twitter links).

The team’s series of workouts continued today with Keita Bates-Diop (Ohio State), Chimezie Metu (USC), Shamorie Ponds (St. John’s), PJ Washington (Kentucky), Mustapha Heron (Auburn), and Matt Mobley (St. Bonaventure) earning a look from the Jazz (Twitter link).

Here’s more pre-draft workout news from around the league:

  • After a stint in Lithuania, LiAngelo Ball has returned stateside to audition for NBA teams ahead of the 2018 draft. According to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype (Twitter link), Lonzo Ball‘s younger brother interviewed with the Thunder and Suns at the Pro Basketball Combine, and has private workouts on tap with the Lakers, Clippers, and Warriors.
  • A report earlier this week indicated that Tulane’s Ray Ona Embo is expected to withdraw from the draft, but it appears he’s going through with his scheduled workouts before making a final decision. Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link) hears from Ona Embo’s brother that the sophomore guard has a workout with the Hornets lined up for Friday.
  • Former UNC wing Theo Pinson has worked out for the Celtics and Timberwolves so far, and will audition for the Rockets on Thursday, tweets Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com. Pinson also has a Knicks workout on his calendar for June 12, Zagoria adds.
  • According to Zagoria (via Twitter), Syracuse early entrant Tyus Battle is working out for the Magic on Wednesday.

Draft Updates: M. Robinson, Hutchison, Edwards, More

Two notable prospects have withdrawn from this week’s NBA draft combine, according to reports. Jonathan Givony of ESPN.com tweets that Mitchell Robinson won’t participate in the event, while Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com tweets that Boise State’s Chandler Hutchison has also withdrawn. In each case, it’s not clear if the player has received a promise from a team or if there’s another reason for his decision.

While NBA evaluators have four years of film on Hutchison to watch, Robinson remains one of the mystery men of this year’s draft class. Due to eligibility issues, he didn’t play a single minute of college basketball, so his draft stock remains cloudy.

Let’s round up a few more draft-related news items and notes…

  • Purdue guard Carsen Edwards was spotted at the combine, so it appears he received a last-minute invite due to the late withdrawals, tweets Givony.
  • Following the official NBA combine this week, another event called the Pro Basketball Combine will take place next week. The Pro Basketball Combine released its full list of participants today, with Deng Adel, Maverick Rowan, and LiAngelo Ball among the names on that list.
  • A handful of early entrants have withdrawn – or will withdraw – from the draft to return to school next season, according to Jeff Goodman of ESPN (Twitter link). Those players include Malik Hines (UMass), Kalob Ledoux (McNeese State), Malik Martin (South Florida) and Zane Martin (Towson), with Ledoux and Malik Martin expected to transfer.
  • A ton of meetings will take place at the combine this week, so it’s likely not worth reading too much into each one, but here are a few early updates: The Pistons are meeting with Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (Twitter link via Vince Ellis of The Detroit Press), the Bucks are interviewing Texas Tech’s Zhaire Smith (Twitter link via Gery Woelfel of The Racine Journal Times), the Timberwolves are interviewing Anfernee Simons (Twitter link via Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News), and the Knicks are meeting with Trae Young (link via Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News).

And-Ones: G League Mini Camp, Combine, Balls

A number of NBA players with recent big league experience have been named to the G League’s Elite Mini Camp roster. In mid-May, about 40 players from the developmental league will get the chance to strut their stuff in front of NBA personnel.

A total of 13 players from the initial roster have had at least some NBA experience, including the always intriguing likes of K.J. McDaniels and Archie Goodwin.

Other players, like Marcus Thornton and Naz Mitrou-Long who signed 10-day contracts in 2017/18 will look to prove that they deserve another crack at a rotation spot.

While it will be tough for a significant number of these players to make final rosters next season, there are plenty of opportunities between training camp and the regular season, especially now with the introduction of two-way contracts last season.

Jonathon Simmons, the G League is quick to mention, once participated in this event, prior to latching on with the Spurs and spinning that into a role with the Magic last summer.

There’s more from around the league this afternoon:

  • While it’s become commonplace for highly regarded draft prospects to skip out on the combine, a number of reputable players from last year’s class were in attendance, including Donovan Mitchell and Bam Adebayo. Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype broke down some of the best players from this year’s rookie crop that are actually expected to participate in the pre-draft event later this month.
  • The dust has settled after LaVar Ball‘s decision to move his non-Lonzo sons to Lithuania. According to Donatas Urbonas of 15min.It, LiAngelo Ball may have been slightly underrated prior to arriving in Europe while LaMelo Ball isn’t prepared to perform at the pro level yet. Urbonas connected with USA Today’s Andrew Joseph to discuss the Ball family’s Lithuanian adventure.
  • The NBA offseason is a lot closer than you might think. In fact, players like Cory Joseph and Wesley Johnson have already made key decisions on contract options for the 2018/19 campaign. For a rundown of what we expect from each team’s pending free agents, check out your respective team’s recap in our Free Agent Stock Watch series. Similarly, Hoops Rumors writers have ranked who we think the top available 2018 NBA free agents are.

And-Ones: Rice Commission, Ball Brothers, Chang

Earlier today, we relayed that the the Commission on College Basketball, headed by former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, released a detailed 60-page report in response to a request by the NCAA for sweeping reforms of college basketball.

In an in-depth article for ESPN, college basketball reporters Jeff Borzello and Myron Metcalf, along with NBA draft analyst Jonathan Givony, gave their two cents on what the report means for the future of college basketball and, for our purposes, the NBA.

As part of what is most likely the most relevant portion of the article for our readers, Givony blasts the commission for “washing its hands” of any real responsibility and repeatedly blaming the NBA’s one-and-done rule for the problems in college basketball.

“Abolishing the NBA age limit, also known as the one-and-done rule, is the commission’s first recommendation… The insistence on prioritizing this topic over a myriad of others is an indication of how much the commission is washing its hands of any real responsibility for the issues facing college basketball.

“It’s preposterous to think that abolishing the one-and-done rule will fix all of college basketball’s problems. The much bigger issue is not allowing players to profit from their likeness, receive endorsement deals or be properly compensated by schools for the huge amount of money they generate — one the commission conveniently deflected, citing ongoing litigation and other issues.”

One potential consequence of the NBA not eliminating the one-and-done rule is for the NCAA to revisit “freshman ineligibility,” which Metcalf wholeheartedly disagreed with.

“This doesn’t make sense. So you want players who aren’t drafted to retain their collegiate eligibility and scholarships, but you’re also willing to put talented high school kids in a situation where they might not be allowed to enter the NBA draft or play for a college team as freshmen?

“This is worst stickup in sports history. The NBA doesn’t have to listen to the NCAA. That’s why they’ve had the age limit for more than a decade, despite complaints from many collegiate power brokers.”

Other topics broached include allowing undrafted players to return to school, harsher punishment for rule breakers, and the influence of AAU and other recruiting enterprises. The entire article is well-done and worth a read.

Below are more odds and ends from around the world of basketball:

  • Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball‘s younger brothers, LiAngelo Ball and LaMelo Ball, will leave their team in Lithuania before season’s end, reports Lithuanian basketball reporter Donatas Urbonas. BC Vytautas still has two regular seasons games left to play and they are fighting to avoid relegation.
  • The NBA has appointed Derek Chang as CEO of NBA China reports Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Chang will oversee the NBA’s basketball and business development in China.
  • With the NBA Draft early entry deadline now behind us, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders gives us a look at his mock draft. Like many others, he has Arizona freshman DeAndre Ayton going No. 1 overall.

Draft Updates: Milton, McCoy, Roach, Ball, More

SMU guard Shake Milton has decided to test the 2018 NBA draft waters, a source tells Patrick Engel of Pony Stampede. A junior, Milton would have the opportunity to return to school for his senior year if he enters the draft without hiring an agent.

Milton, who is currently ranked 34th on Jonathan Givony’s big board at ESPN.com, is coming off a strong season at SMU, averaging 18.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG, and 4.4 APG with a shooting line of .449/.434/.847. In Givony’s most recent mock draft, he has Milton coming off the board at No. 36 to the Mavericks.

Here are more of the latest draft updates from around the basketball world:

  • UNLV center Brandon McCoy, who averaged 16.9 PPG and 10.3 RPG as a freshman and ranks 58th on ESPN’s big board, announced he’ll forgo his remaining years of NCAA eligibility to enter the draft, according to the school. “This is probably one of the toughest decisions I have ever made,” McCoy said in a statement. “I will always be a Rebel, but when weighing all the factors, with the support of my family I have decided it is in my best interest to forgo my collegiate eligibility and pursue my lifelong dream of playing in the NBA.”
  • The 65th-ranked prospect on ESPN’s top 100, Texas junior guard Kerwin Roach II will test the draft waters without hiring an agent, the school announced in a press release. “We want to see where I may stand in this year’s draft, but we’re also keeping all options open,” Roach said. “We want to get the most accurate feedback directly from the NBA, so we can make the best decision for my future.”
  • Marshall junior guard Jon Elmore and Eastern Michigan junior forward Elijah Minnie are each expected to declare for the 2018 draft without hiring an agent, reports Jeff Goodman of ESPN (Twitter links).
  • Washington State’s basketball program announced on Monday that junior forward Robert Franks is declaring for the NBA draft without hiring an agent. An earlier report from Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports suggested that Franks would hire an agent rather than simply testing the waters, but that hasn’t happened yet.
  • Lonzo Ball‘s younger brother LiAngelo Ball has declared for the 2018 NBA draft after spending the last few months playing for Lithuanian team Vytautas Prienu, agent Harrison Gaines tells Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports. The former UCLA swingman isn’t expected to be drafted.