There’s a chance all three Ball brothers will play in the NBA in the 2020-21 season.
The middle brother, LiAngelo, signed an Exhibit 10 contract with the Pistons on Wednesday afternoon, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. The news comes a few weeks after the youngest Ball brother, LaMelo, was taken by the Hornets with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Lonzo will enter his second year with the Pelicans in 2020-21 after being traded from the Lakers.
An Exhibit 10 contract is a one-year and non-guaranteed deal. Essentially, it gives LiAngelo incentive to join the Pistons’ G League team, the Grand Rapids Drive. It also aligns LiAngelo to potentially sign a two-way contract with the Pistons — a two-way contract allows a player to spend up to 45 days in the NBA in a season.
The Athletic’s James Edwards, who covers the Pistons, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday, “(For what it’s worth), I’d be stunned if Ball is more than just an extra camp body.”
Out of Chino Hills (California) High School, LiAngelo was a three-star recruit. He had committed to UCLA as a sophomore, but his Bruins tenure didn’t last long. He and two other freshmen were arrested in China on shoplifting charges, and LiAngelo was suspended from the basketball program indefinitely.
LiAngelo left UCLA after the suspension and went to play in Lithuania for Prienei. He averaged 12.6 points and 2.7 rebounds per game, outscoring LaMelo on the same team while shooting 41.5 percent from 3-point range. LiAngelo’s time in Lithuania was used to prepare for the 2018 NBA Draft, in which he went undrafted.
After returning to the U.S., LiAngelo played in his father LaVar’s Junior Basketball Association, which was presented as an alternative to the NCAA. Most recently, Ball signed with the G League’s Oklahoma City Blue as a practice player before being signed full time by the team on March 9. The Blue played one game before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the season, and LiAngelo didn’t participate in that game.
LaVar’s goal was always to have his three sons make the NBA, and while there are no guarantees with LiAngelo and the Pistons, this is the closest the three Ball brothers have been to being in the league together.