The younger Ball brothers are headed from the bright lights of Los Angeles to a remote village across the Atlantic.
LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball have signed professional contracts with Lithuanian basketball club Prienu Vytautas, The Vertical reported Monday. The brothers will join the club in early January, each on one-year deals.
The Balls entered this unconventional path to the NBA draft, or so their father hopes, after LaVar Ball pulled LiAngelo out of UCLA last Monday because he no longer wanted to wait for the freshman’s indefinite suspension for shoplifting to be lifted. The move meant LiAngelo joined LaMelo under the family roof, after LaVar took the high school junior out of Chino Hills High in October over a disagreement with the basketball coach.
The Vytautas deal comes just a week after the brothers signed with agent Harrison Gaines, who also represents Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball, with the hope of finding a joint playing opportunity overseas. LaVar has made it clear he plans for LiAngelo, 19, to enter the 2018 draft. LaMelo is 16.
Vytautas, which has had just one American on its roster in the past decade, is interested in the marketing advantages of signing LiAngelo and LaMelo, according to ESPN. The brothers, both guards, have become household names because of Lonzo’s rise to the NBA and LaVar’s loud family promotions. The Lithuanian club, located in a town with a population of about 10,000, has been struggling financially as well as on the court, where it’s gone 4-8 in the Lithuanian league so far this season.
The Ball brothers are more likely to play in the less competitive Baltic League with Vytautas and see about 20-to-25 minutes of playing time each game. That team is 4-0 this season.