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Saturday, July 4, 2020

LaVar Ball

LaVar Ball does not want son LaMelo going to the Warriors

LaMelo Ball

LaMelo Ball is one of the top prospects in this year’s NBA Draft class and very likely to be one of the first five draft picks. The Golden State Warriors had the worst record in the league as of the season’s suspension and are likely to land a high pick. But LaVar Ball does not want his son going to Golden State because he does not think LaMelo would be a good fit there.

“That’s the part I don’t like about Golden State,” LaVar said on the Say Less with Kaz podcast. “They got Klay and the other guys, and now you want to put Melo in that mix to say you got to follow these guys. Melo ain’t no follower. He don’t need to do what they do, let them do they thing.”

The Warriors already have a backcourt featuring Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, meaning LaMelo wouldn’t have a chance to shine. That’s the problem as LaVar sees it.

“There’s a reason you are looking at my son. He’s talented and can play the game. It ain’t that hard. Guy is open, and you pass it to them. You open and you been working on your shot? Shoot the ball. It’s fast-paced, it’s good. But don’t be like Melo got to his turn and wait for two or three years to go by and learn from the veterans. Ain’t about that. Can you play or not?”

The point made by moot anyway, because the Warriors might not even want LaMelo anyway.

One team where ‘Melo could end up? Take a look at the rumors tying him to this Eastern Conference squad.

LaVar Ball’s Zion Williamson take might be his worst yet

LaVar Ball

At this point, it’s par for the course when LaVar Ball says something absurd about one of his sons or basketball in general. His latest, though, is particularly noteworthy for its silliness.

Ball recent joined Complex’s “Load Management” podcast, in which he said that his son Lonzo essentially made Zion Williamson the star that he is with the Pelicans.

“Take my boy out the situation and see how much buzz you get,” Ball said, via Jose Martinez of Complex. “He’d probably still be out for the season. … I don’t care how fast you can run and jump, if you ain’t got nobody to get you that ball, guess what you going to be doing? Running and jumping out there for nothing.”

Yeah, no. Williamson was one of the biggest stars in the sport at Duke and one of the most hyped top draft picks in recent memory. Lonzo Ball had nothing to do with any of that.

The reality is that Lonzo and Zion have had a mutually beneficial on-court relationship, and have made each other better. Ball is having his best NBA season in New Orleans. All of this is true, but LaVar doesn’t care to draw attention to that. He’d rather just make stupid comments like this one.

LaVar Ball explains why LaMelo should be No. 1 pick in NBA Draft

LaMelo Ball

LaMelo Ball is among the top prospects for the 2020 NBA Draft (whenever it ends up taking place) and will most likely go in the top five picks. If it’s up to his big-mouthed father, LaMelo would be going No. 1 overall for a few reasons.

LaVar Ball joined the “Pardon My Take” podcast last week and told hosts Big Cat and PFT why LaMelo should go No. 1.

“In the draft, when you have the No. 1 pick, you want to take a guy who’s most popular. That’s one of the things you want to have — like Zion (Williamson) was most popular last year. And then the second thing is you probably want to take the best guard because that’s how the game is changing. Melo is both of those,” LaVar said.

“So if you’re going to start your franchise and you want to put people in the seats, you gotta get Melo.”

CBS Sports has LaMelo as the No. 1 prospect in the class. ESPN has him No. 2, and SI has him ranked No. 3.

There has been some chatter that the inability of teams to interview players would hurt LaMelo, because teams would want to learn what kind of involvement LaVar would have in matters. LaVar has already shared some opinions. He says he doesn’t want LaMelo to go anywhere a coach would restrict him and put him in a box, which is what he felt happened with oldest son Lonzo on the Lakers.

Of course, a LaVar Ball interview would not be complete without some outlandish talk. LaVar talked his usual nonsense, saying he would win a championship in the NBA if he were coaching all three of his sons. He also said he would have schooled Zion Williamson if they played. That’s almost as funny as LaVar’s original comment about Michael Jordan.

LaMelo Ball’s draft stock could be hurt by inability to conduct interviews?

LaMelo Ball

NBA teams are going face serious obstacles with scouting prospects ahead of the June 25 draft because of the coronavirus pandemic, and that will almost certainly impact the future of some players more than others. That may be the case for LaMelo Ball, who could stand to gain plenty during an interview process that may not take place.

Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report spoke with NBA executives who said they would feel more comfortable drafting Ball if they could first meet with him to discuss what role his father, LaVar, is planning to play in LaMelo’s professional career.

“You’re still going to investigate all that, but I’d want to meet with the kid and the dad, personally,” one Eastern Conference general manager told Bucher. “The dad is such a wild card.”

The spotlight on LaVar Ball is not nearly as bright now as it was before Lonzo Ball was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers, but that could change as the draft draws nearer. LaMelo is in contention to be the No. 1 overall pick and many view him as a better NBA prospect than Lonzo, so there will soon be plenty more opportunities for LaVar to make a fool of himself.

LaVar has created a name for himself and the Ball family in large part by making outlandish claims, and he proved recently that he has not grown tired of doing that. His presence has the potential to be a distraction for an NBA franchise, so it makes sense that team executives would prefer to discuss that with LaMelo before investing a top pick in the 18-year-old.

LaVar Ball plans to offer new Big Baller Brand athletes an ownership stake

LaVar Ball Lakers

The sports world has operated without the loud presence of LaVar Ball for around a year or so, but that appears to be changing. Ball seems to be intent on resurrecting his Big Baller Brand company.

LaVar, the loudmouth father of sons Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo, was a guest on Joy Taylor’s “Maybe I’m Crazy” podcast and talked about plans for Big Baller Brand. LaVar says the next step is to offer future athletes ownership stakes in the company.

“I’m going to look for the next best representation of the BBBs and athletes. To get started, I mainly focused on my boys, and that was the thing, and people thought it was just going to be my three boys and that’s it. Nah, they got some superstars coming out every year, and I’m going to start approaching them,” LaVar told Taylor.

“It’s going to be different on my part … I’m going to offer these next athletes ownership. That’s different than endorsement. And when that endorsement falls down, that’s what’s going to be the new business model.”

Big Baller Brand started with a bang when LaVar was doing all his crazy hyping of his sons, generating tons of publicity. Things started to unravel when Lonzo’s time with the Lakers didn’t go well, LiAngelo was kicked off the UCLA team, and Gelo and LaMelo went to Lithuania. The brand started developing a poor business reputation for its inability to produce its clothing and shoes on time and fulfill customer orders.

Lonzo eventually left the company, suing one of the co-founders and later bashing the shoes they created. Co-founder Alan Foster filed a $2.5 million countersuit calling out LaVar Ball, leading to the company restructuring.

Maybe LaVar has sorted things out, because it seems he is back in a familiar role from a few years ago of drumming up publicity once again. The timing also coincides with LaMelo being a few months away from becoming a high pick in the NBA Draft.

As for the business plan of offering ownership stake, that might be what it takes up front to attract some athletes, but after a while, too much ownership might be given away

Here is the interview clip of LaVar with Joy Taylor:

Lonzo Ball has blossomed in first season with Pelicans

Lonzo Ball

When the Los Angeles Lakers traded for Anthony Davis this past summer, they instantly vaulted themselves firmly into the championship discussion. For Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, and Brandon Ingram, the trade to the Pelicans presented an opportunity for a fresh start. Playing for the Lakers, one of the NBA’s most storied franchises, comes with an added weight of expectations. Then when you factor in the arrival of LeBron James, arguably the most polarizing athlete of his generation, that weight gets so heavy it can feel like being submerged by Zion Williamson’s entire mass. During their lone season serving as loyal subjects to King James, all three young players experienced the highs and lows that come along with playing an 82-game season.

This season, Ingram has blossomed into an elite scorer and was selected to his first All-Star game. Hart has continued to flash the two-way ability he showed with the Lakers, playing reliable defense and knocking down open three-pointers. Ball, however, has arguably benefited the most from his move from the City of Angels to Bourbon Street.

For Ball, the trade to the Pelicans redefined his career trajectory in a lot of ways, but none were more important than getting out from the loud and often obnoxious shadow that his father LaVar Ball cast. LaVar recently found himself back in the headlines thanks to his claims that Lonzo and the Pelicans would defeat James and the Lakers in a potential first-round playoff matchup. Compared to the precedent he had set during Lonzo’s first two seasons, LaVar has remained relatively quiet this year.

For the first time in his young career, Lonzo’s play on the court has dictated the narrative in the media rather than LaVar’s big mouth.

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LaVar Ball says Knicks would be best fit for son LaMelo

LaMelo Ball

The New York Knicks don’t have much going for them at the moment, but LaVar Ball thinks that his youngest son might be able to change all that.

Appearing this week on FS1’s “Undisputed,” Ball said that he believes the Knicks are the best fit for 18-year-old son LaMelo, a projected top lottery pick in this year’s NBA draft.

“The best fit in my eyes is New York, the New York Knicks,” said LaVar. “Because I know Melo. Melo is a big city guy. He likes lights. He likes that. He’d love it.

“I think it’s about time for New York,” he added. “I kinda feel they’re gonna get the first pick on the fact that they missed it so many times and it’s time for something good to happen to them … New York could be great for him.”

LaMelo is a 6-foot-8 scorer and playmaker who plays a point guard position that the Knicks have yet to find a mainstay at (currently cycling among the likes of Elfrid Payton, Dennis Smith Jr, and Frank Ntilikina). The team also has the fifth-worst record in the NBA right now at 19-42.

The former Chino Hills High School star has been scouted by a number of other (albeit smaller-market) teams, but both father and son seem to have a bigger goal in mind.