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#pounditWednesday, December 8, 2021

Report: Warriors broke promise to draft LaMelo Ball

LaMelo Ball

LaMelo Ball is already looking like a potential superstar for the Charlotte Hornets. But the union might never have happened at all if not for some drama on draft night.

Speaking this week on ESPN’s “Jalen & Jacoby,” Jalen Rose reported that the Golden State Warriors broke a promise to Ball that they would draft him with the No. 2 overall pick.

“The night of the draft, the Golden State Warriors told LaMelo Ball they were going to take him next and they didn’t do it,” said Rose, per Jon Becker of The Mercury News. “That story gonna come out soon. They told him they were going to take him and they didn’t do it.

“Right after they got off the phone with LaMelo Ball’s team and telling them they were going to take him, I was a part of the next call,” Rose added, who was working draft coverage for ESPN that night. “As a matter of fact, I sent an internal text to our producer on [NBA] Countdown and told them that. And then 3, 2, 1, the pick happens and they didn’t do it. True story.”

A clip also re-emerged this week of Ball in the green room holding up two fingers before the draft.

“Just know it’s up. Y’all see my fingers. Two,” Ball said in the video.

That would seemingly back up Rose’s assertion that the 19-year-old expected to go with the No. 2 overall pick. Golden State also got earlier word on the day of the draft that Klay Thompson had torn his ACL. That might have added to the uncertainty about what the team was going to do with their pick.

Alas, the Warriors ended up drafting seven-footer James Wiseman at No. 2 instead, while Ball went to the Hornets with the very next pick. Ball is now the runaway favorite for Rookie of the Year, leading all first-year players in almost every major statistical category. Wiseman has missed a lot of games with injury as a rookie but obviously could still pan out given more time.

In any case, Ball may actually be developing some beef with the Warriors between this anecdote and another recent incident involving the team.

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