Sixty names were called in all, but none of them were Ball.
As expected, LiAngelo Ball was not picked at the NBA draft Thursday, putting an end — at least for now — to LaVar Ball’s plan to stack his three sons on the same squad.
In fact, no team ever really seemed interested in LiAngelo or thought he was an NBA-caliber player. The middle Ball brother had worked out for just the Lakers and Warriors before the draft. The Lakers didn’t think he was good enough for the G-League, either, according to a report from USA Today that came out after his workout with the team.
To make matters worse, the Lakers — the only team he likely had a chance with — pulled the plug on any Summer League dreams after the draft, too. Management informed Ball he was not part of their summer plans, according to ESPN, a conversation that suggested the decision was more personal based on the team’s relationship with brother Lonzo, last year’s No. 2 draft pick, and the Ball family.
LiAngelo was indefinitely suspended from the UCLA basketball team before he ever played a game — outside of an exhibition — with the team. He was caught shoplifting in China, sparking a media frenzy and an international incident in which President Trump got involved.
LaVar pulled LiAngelo from the Bruins and shipped him and his younger brother, LaMelo, to play basketball in Lithuania. Predictably, LaVar pulled his sons from that team too over a dispute with the coach.
And on Thursday night, there was definitely no draft party for LiAngelo. He was seen at the season opener of LaVar’s new amateur league, the Junior Basketball Association.
Some fans at the draft chanted LiAngelo’s name before the last pick, practically begging the 76ers to draft him. It didn’t happen — they instead chose Kostas Antetokounmpo, a brother of Giannis and Thanasis.
LaVar has also been outspoken recently about his oldest son’s situation with the Lakers. He told TMZ that trading Lonzo Ball would be “the worst move they ever made.”
There have been rumors the Lakers could ship the guard to San Antonio as part of a deal for Kawhi Leonard. The Spurs reportedly are not interested.
Despite the setbacks, LaVar is as confident as ever that his master plan will work out eventually.
“He’ll [LiAngelo] come in the back door as a free agent,” he said to TMZ. “Somebody will take all three of my boys and whoever do, guess what — championship.”
But as undrafted free agents were scooped up, there had yet to be any reported interest in LiAngelo.
Basketball’s biggest mouth, LaVar Ball loves to court controversy
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