LaMelo Ball

AP Photo

Bryan Colangelo now part owner of LaMelo Ball’s old Australian team

Leave a comment

Bryan Colangelo is back in basketball.

The man last working in the NBA as the 76ers GM — until a Twitter controversy started by his wife surfaced — is now the part-owner of and an advisor to the Illawarra Hawks of Australia’s National Basketball League. That would be the team LaMelo Ball played for and tried to purchase a piece of, but could not.

The NBL announced the move in a press release. Colangelo is co-owner with Dorry Kordahi, a former part-owner of the Sydney Kings, and Michael Proctor. Colangelo will not have a day-to-day role as GM/President but will serve as a consultant and advisor to the basketball operations side.

“Australian basketball with its great history has been on a significant rise for many years now and the NBL has played a significant role in growing the sport’s awareness and participation levels, while developing some of the best athlete and coaching talent the world has to offer,” Colangelo said in a statement. “We are thrilled to be selected as new partners with the league and pledge to outperform the expectations placed on us and deliver for Hawks fans.

“With the Next Stars initiative, the league has strategically positioned itself as a viable alternative for young athletes seeking a premium player development and athlete care model that best prepares them for competing at the sport’s highest levels. LaMelo Ball, among others, serves as a great example of just how influential the NBL has become on a global basis.”

LaMelo used the games he played in Australia to ensure a spot near the top of the NBA Draft this year.

Colangelo worked in the front office in Toronto and Phoenix before being in Philadelphia and was twice named NBA Executive of the Year. He interviewed for the team president in Chicago this year, but the Bulls went with Arturas Karnisovas.

 

LaMelo Ball reportedly top point guard on Knicks’ draft board

LaMelo Ball Knicks
Getty Images
Leave a comment

LaMelo Ball has the highest upside of any player in the 2020 NBA Draft, according to NBC’s own Rob Dauster. He’s a 6’7″ guard who has fantastic handles and elite court vision, which makes him dangerous off the pick-and-roll. Ball’s supporters see a guy who could have a Trae Young, All-Star kind of offensive impact.

There are also serious questions and doubts about whether Ball can reach that ceiling. He lacks a consistent shot, especially from deep, his decision making needs work, his defense is not good at all, and there are lingering questions about his work ethic. Ball is a high variance pick, maybe he can be developed into an elite player, but his floor is also pretty low.

The Knicks, in need of a star, are willing to take a big swing and hope Ball can be a home run. He is the top point guard on the team’s draft board, reports Marc Berman at the New York Post.

The Post has learned unequivocally LaMelo Ball is currently the top-rated point guard on the Knicks’ board.

That should hardly be surprising, knowing new president Leon Rose likes to shoot for the stars. Knicks officials believe the 6-foot-7 playmaker/driver has one of the higher upsides in the entire draft despite his lack of a 3-point shot. Rose has already dealt with outspoken father Lavar Ball when his sons were briefly with Creative Artists Agency.

A couple of quick thoughts. First, teams are blowing a lot of smoke around their draft intentions at this point, so take every report like this with a grain of salt. Second, teams are not going to seriously factor Lavar Ball into their choice. He will be at most a challenge for the PR staff, but teams have dealt with overbearing parents before. With Lonzo Ball and the Lakers, LaVar was doing television and making a splash early on in the market, but he was a much bigger deal outside the locker room than in it.

This is a draft without a star at the top, so teams are going to look both at potential and the ability of that player to reach it. Does Anthony Edwards have as high a ceiling as Ball? Maybe not, but he’s more likely to reach it and has a higher floor. Fit also may matter to teams more than in other drafts.

The Knicks need a ball handler and Rose may be willing to give Ball a shot to be that guy (RJ Hampton interests the Knicks as well), but he’d be smart to bring in a veteran who can play that role as well.

The Knicks have the sixth-worst record in the NBA as things stand today (it’s unclear if there will be more regular season games). New York a 37.2 percent chance of landing in the top four picks (9 percent they get the top pick) where Ball potentially will be on the board, but a 50.4 percent chance they draft No. 7 or 8, at which point he is likely already taken.

The 2020 NBA Draft is still technically scheduled for June 25, but with the draft lottery and combine already postponed, the draft itself will be pushed back. Likely into the fall.

Here are all 205 players who declared for the 2020 NBA Draft

NBA draft entrants: Georgia guard Anthony Edwards and Auburn forward Isaac Okoro
AP Photo/Julie Bennett
Leave a comment

Cassius Winston was a senior at Michigan State. Udoka Azubuike was a senior at Kansas. Payton Pritchard was a senior at Kansas.

LaMelo Ball and R.J. Hampton – as old-enough American-born players who completed professional contracts outside the NBA – were automatically eligible.

Otherwise, practically every first-round prospect had to declare for the 2020 NBA Draft.

The NBA allows players to withdraw until 10 days before the draft (whenever that will be). The NCAA typically has an earlier withdrawal deadline for maintaining eligibility, though everything is in flux amid the coronavirus pandemic.

For now, here are all 205 early entrants (163 players from the American system and 42 international players):

Player Team Height Status
Precious Achiuwa Memphis 6-9 Freshman
Milan Acquaah California Baptist 6-3 Junior
Jordyn Adams Austin Peay 6-3 Freshman
Abdul Ado Mississippi State 6-11 Junior
Ty-Shon Alexander Creighton 6-4 Junior
Timmy Allen Utah 6-6 Sophomore
Derrick Alston Jr. Boise State 6-9 Junior
Cole Anthony North Carolina 6-3 Freshman
Joel Ayayi Gonzaga 6-5 Sophomore
Brendan Bailey Marquette 6-8 Sophomore
Saddiq Bey Villanova 6-8 Sophomore
Tyler Bey Colorado 6-7 Junior
Jermaine Bishop Norfolk State 6-1 Junior
Jomaru Brown Eastern Kentucky 6-2 Sophomore
Marcus Burk IUPUI 6-3 Junior
Dachon Burke Jr. Nebraska 6-4 Junior
Jordan Burns Colgate 6-0 Junior
Jared Butler Baylor 6-3 Sophomore
Manny Camper Siena 6-7 Junior
Vernon Carey Jr. Duke 6-10 Freshman
Marcus Carr Minnesota 6-2 Sophomore
Tamenang Choh Brown 6-5 Junior
Kofi Cockburn Illinois 7-0 Freshman
David Collins South Florida 6-3 Junior
Zach Cooks NJIT 5-9 Junior
Jalen Crutcher Dayton 6-1 Junior
Ryan Daly St. Joseph’s 6-5 Junior
Nate Darling Delaware 6-5 Junior
Darius Days LSU 6-6 Sophomore
Dexter Dennis Wichita State 6-5 Sophomore
Lamine Diane CSUN 6-7 Sophomore
Ayo Dosunmu Illinois 6-5 Sophomore
Devon Dotson Kansas 6-2 Sophomore
Nojel Eastern Purdue 6-7 Junior
Anthony Edwards Georgia 6-5 Freshman
CJ Elleby Washington State 6-6 Sophomore
Mason Faulkner Western Carolina 6-1 Junior
LJ Figueroa St. John’s 6-6 Junior
Malik Fitts St. Mary’s 6-8 Junior
Malachi Flynn San Diego State 6-1 Junior
Blake Francis Richmond 6-0 Junior
Hasahn French St. Louis 6-7 Junior
DJ Funderburk NC State 6-10 Junior
Both Gach Utah 6-6 Sophomore
Alonzo Gaffney Ohio State 6-9 Freshman
Luka Garza Iowa 6-11 Junior
Jacob Gilyard Richmond 5-9 Junior
Grant Golden Richmond 6-10 Junior
Jordan Goodwin St. Louis 6-3 Junior
Tony Goodwin II Redemption Academy (MA) 6-6 Post-Graduate
Jayvon Graves Buffalo 6-3 Junior
AJ Green Northern Iowa 6-4 Sophomore
Darin Green Jr. UCF 6-4 Freshman
Josh Green Arizona 6-6 Freshman
Ashton Hagans Kentucky 6-3 Sophomore
Tyrese Haliburton Iowa State 6-5 Sophomore
Josh Hall Moravian Prep (NC) 6-8 Post-Graduate
Rayshaun Hammonds Georgia 6-9 Junior
Jalen Harris Nevada 6-5 Junior
Niven Hart Fresno State 6-5 Freshman
Aaron Henry Michigan State 6-6 Sophomore
Jalen Hill UCLA 6-10 Sophomore
Nate Hinton Houston 6-5 Sophomore
Jay Huff Virginia 7-1 Junior
Elijah Hughes Syracuse 6-6 Junior
Feron Hunt SMU 6-8 Sophomore
Chance Hunter Long BeachState 6-6 Sophomore
DeJon Jarreau Houston 6-5 Junior
Damien Jefferson Creighton 6-5 Junior
Isaiah Joe Arkansas 6-5 Sophomore
Dakari Johnson Cape Fear CC (NC) 6-0 Freshman
Jalen Johnson Louisiana 6-7 Junior
Andre Jones Nicholls State 6-4 Junior
C.J. Jones MTSU 6-5 Junior
Herbert Jones Alabama 6-7 Junior
Mason Jones Arkansas 6-5 Junior
Tre Jones Duke 6-3 Sophomore
Corey Kispert Gonzaga 6-7 Junior
Kameron Langley NC A&T 6-2 Junior
AJ Lawson South Carolina 6-6 Sophomore
Saben Lee Vanderbilt 6-2 Junior
Kira Lewis Jr. Alabama 6-3 Sophomore
Matt Lewis James Madison 6-5 Junior
Isaiah Livers Michigan 6-7 Junior
Denzel Mahoney Creighton 6-5 Junior
Makur Maker Pacific Academy (CA) 7-0 Post-Graduate
Sandro Mamukelashvili Seton Hall 6-11 Junior
Tre Mann Florida 6-4 Freshman
Nico Mannion Arizona 6-3 Freshman
Naji Marshall Xavier 6-7 Junior
Kenyon Martin Jr. IMG Academy (FL) 6-7 Post-Graduate
Remy Martin Arizona State 6-0 Junior
Tyrese Maxey Kentucky 6-3 Freshman
Mac McClung Georgetown 6-2 Sophomore
Jaden McDaniels Washington 6-9 Freshman
Isiaha Mike SMU 6-8 Junior
Isaiah Miller UNCG 6-0 Junior
Matt Mitchell San Diego State 6-6 Junior
EJ Montgomery Kentucky 6-10 Sophomore
Andrew Nembhard Florida 6-5 Sophomore
Aaron Nesmith Vanderbilt 6-6 Sophomore
Zeke Nnaji Arizona 6-11 Freshman
Obadiah Noel Massachusetts-Lowell 6-4 Junior
Jordan Nwora Louisville 6-7 Junior
Onyeka Okongwu USC 6-9 Freshman
Isaac Okoro Auburn 6-6 Freshman
Elijah Olaniyi Stony Brook 6-5 Junior
Daniel Oturu Minnesota 6-10 Sophomore
Reggie Perry Mississippi State 6-10 Sophomore
Filip Petrusev Gonzaga 6-11 Sophomore
John Petty Jr. Alabama 6-5 Junior
Nate Pierre-Louis Temple 6-4 Junior
Xavier Pinson Missouri 6-2 Sophomore
Yves Pons Tennessee 6-6 Junior
Immanuel Quickley Kentucky 6-3 Sophomore
Darius Quisenberry Youngstown State 6-1 Sophomore
Jahmi’us Ramsey Texas Tech 6-4 Freshman
Paul Reed Jr. DePaul 6-9 Junior
Nick Richards Kentucky 6-11 Junior
Colbey Ross Pepperdine 6-1 Junior
Fatts Russell Rhode Island 5-10 Junior
Joe Saterfield Ranger CC (TX) 6-4 Freshman
Jayden Scrubb John A. Logan College (IL) 6-6 Sophomore
Aamir Simms Clemson 6-9 Junior
Ja’Vonte Smart LSU 6-4 Sophomore
Chris Smith UCLA 6-9 Junior
Collin Smith UCF 6-11 Junior
Jalen Smith Maryland 6-10 Sophomore
Justin Smith Indiana 6-7 Junior
Mitchell Smith Missouri 6-10 Junior
Stef Smith Vermont 6-1 Junior
Ben Stanley Hampton 6-6 Sophomore
Cassius Stanley Duke 6-6 Freshman
Isaiah Stewart Washington 6-9 Freshman
Parker Stewart UT-Martin 6-5 Sophomore
Terry Taylor Austin Peay 6-5 Junior
MaCio Teague Baylor 6-3 Junior
Tyrell Terry Stanford 6-1 Freshman
Justin Thomas Morehead State 5-11 Junior
Ethan Thompson Oregon State 6-5 Junior
Xavier Tillman Sr. Michigan State 6-8 Junior
Jeremiah Tilmon Missouri 6-10 Junior
Obi Toppin Dayton 6-9 Sophomore
Jordan Tucker Butler 6-7 Junior
Devin Vassell Florida State 6-6 Sophomore
Alonzo Verge Jr. Arizona State 6-3 Junior
Chris Vogt Cincinnati 7-1 Junior
CJ Walker Ohio State 6-1 Junior
Trendon Watford LSU 6-9 Freshman
Ibi Watson Dayton 6-5 Junior
Nick Weatherspoon Mississippi State 6-2 Junior
Kaleb Wesson Ohio State 6-9 Junior
Jarrod West Marshall 5-11 Junior
Romello White Arizona State 6-8 Junior
Kahlil Whitney Kentucky 6-6 Freshman
DeAndre Williams Evansville 6-9 Sophomore
Emmitt Williams LSU 6-6 Sophomore
Keith Williams Cincinnati 6-5 Junior
Patrick Williams Florida State 6-8 Freshman
James Wiseman Memphis 7-1 Freshman
Robert Woodard II Mississippi State 6-7 Sophomore
McKinley Wright IV Colorado 6-0 Junior
Omer Yurtseven Georgetown 7-0 Junior
Berke Atar MZT Skopje (Macedonia) 6-11 1999 DOB
Deni Avdija Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel) 6-8 2001 DOB
Brancou Badio Barcelona (Spain) 6-3 1999 DOB
Darko Bajo Split (Croatia) 6-10 1999 DOB
Philippe Bayehe Roseto (Italy) 6-9 1999 DOB
Marek Blazevic Rytas (Lithuania) 6-10 2001 DOB
Adrian Bogucki Radom (Poland) 7-1 1999 DOB
Leandro Bolmaro Barcelona (Spain) 6-6 2000 DOB
Vinicius Da Silva Prat (Spain) 7-0 2001 DOB
Henri Drell Pesaro (Italy) 6-9 2000 DOB
Imru Duke Zentro Basket (Spain) 6-8 1999 DOB
Michele Ebeling Kleb Ferrara (Italy) 6-9 1999 DOB
Paul Eboua Pesaro (Italy) 6-8 2000 DOB
Osas Ehigiator Fuenlabrada (Spain) 6-10 1999 DOB
Joel Ekamba Limoges (France) 6-5 2001 DOB
Selim Fofana Neuchatel (Switzerland) 6-3 1999 DOB
Miguel Gonzalez Baskonia (Spain) 6-7 1999 DOB
Killian Hayes Ratiopharm Ulm (Germany) 6-5 2001 DOB
Sehmus Hazer Bandirma (Turkey) 6-3 1999 DOB
Rokas Jokubaitis Zalgiris (Lithuania) 6-4 2000 DOB
Georgios Kalaitzakis Nevezis (Lithuania) 6-8 1999 DOB
Vit Krejci Zaragoza (Spain) 6-8 2000 DOB
Arturs Kurucs VEF Riga (Latvia) 6-3 2000 DOB
Dut Mabor Roseto (Italy) 7-1 2001 DOB
Yam Madar Hapoel Tel Aviv (Israel) 6-2 2000 DOB
Theo Maledon ASVEL (France) 6-4 2001 DOB
Karim Mane Vanier (Canada) 6-5 2000 DOB
Sergi Martinez Barcelona (Spain) 6-8 1999 DOB
Nikola Miskovic Mega Bemax (Serbia) 6-10 1999 DOB
Aristide Mouaha Roseto (Italy) 6-3 2000 DOB
Caio Pacheco Bahia Basket (Argentina) 6-3 1999 DOB
Joel Parra Joventut (Spain) 6-8 2000 DOB
Aleksej Pokusevski Olympiacos (Greece) 7-0 2001 DOB
Sander Raieste Kalev/Cramo (Estonia) 6-9 1999 DOB
Nikolaos Rogkavopoulos AEK (Greece) 6-8 2001 DOB
Yigitcan Saybir Anadolu Efes (Turkey) 6-7 1999 DOB
Njegos Sikiras Fuenlabrada (Spain) 6-9 1999 DOB
Marko Simonovic Mega Bemax (Serbia) 6-11 1999 DOB
Mouhamed Thiam Nanterre (France) 6-9 2001 DOB
Uros Trifunovic Partizan (Serbia) 6-7 2000 DOB
Arnas Velicka Prienai (Lithuania) 6-4 1999 DOB
Andrii Voinalovych Khimik (Ukraine) 6-10 1999 DOB

Tulane guard Teshaun Hightower, who announced he was declaring for the draft and was since charged with murder, was not included.

Report: Jalen Green jumping from high school to NBA’s minor league

Jalen Green
John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Leave a comment

The NBA still bans players jumping from straight from high school to the NBA.

The NBA’s minor league does not. In fact, the minor league is offering a $125,000 salary specifically to entice top high school recruits.

Nobody took the deal last season, the first year it was offered. Kevin Durant and Emmanuel Mudiay said they wouldn’t have gone that route if it were available. Top American players who wanted to turn pro – LaMelo Ball and R.J. Hampton – instead went to Australia’s National Basketball League, which also has a special program to lure graduating high schoolers.

So, Jalen Green will be a trendsetter.

Jonathan Givony of ESPN:

This is risky.

Green will get more money than he would playing college basketball. Probably. At minimum, this is over the table.

He’ll also get professional experience. College basketball grooms players for the NBA. This program is designed to groom players for the NBA.

But that cuts both ways. Green will face far better competition against older and better minor-league players.

He’ll also get far less exposure in a little-watched league. College basketball draws major viewers and would’ve given Green more ability to build his brand. On the other hand, he can cash in sooner, signing endorsement deals now.

Will this be good for Green overall? Tough to say. There’s no precedent. Presumably, he weighed all the pros and cons and made the best decision for him. Hopefully, he made the right call.

Australian NBL pumps breaks on report LaMelo Ball has bought a team

LaMelo Ball Knicks
Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images
Leave a comment

It was a stunning headline, especially considering LaMelo Ball is just 18:

He bought a team in the Australian National Basketball League, specifically the Illawarra Hawks, the team he played for some last season. It’s an insane story.

And it’s not quite true. At least not yet. The NBL released a statement that pumped the breaks on the idea of a sale to Ball and his manager, Jermaine Jackson. Part of the statement reads:

“The league can confirm LaMelo Ball and his management had discussions about being involved with the club while he was playing in the NBL last season. At this point we are continuing to work with current licence holder Simon Stratford on a number of options for what we hope will be a fruitful outcome for Illawarra and the NBL.

The NBL has final approval on any transfer of licence and no application has been made to date. The NBL has no further comment at this stage.

Did LaMelo and his manager jump the gun? Or, is this a negotiating ploy by the NBL and Stratford to get more money by jacking up the price on a sale?

Those two follow a host of other questions, including what percentage of the team would Ball and his manager own? What would their involvement be?

Ineligible for college stateside, Ball chose to play in Australia under the NBL’s Next Stars program. It worked, he’s projected to be a top-five, maybe top-three pick. He left the NBL after suffering a season-ending foot injury, although that came under a cloud of criticism from Hawks owner Stratford.

The ultimate revenge would be to buy the team, if that is actually happening.