LaVar Ball has a plan and it involves getting all three of his sons to play together for the Los Angeles Lakers. While it certainly seems ambitious, LaVar has already made some progress towards his goal.
Lonzo Ball has already been drafted second overall by the Lakers and middle son LiAngelo will be a freshman at UCLA this year. However, LaVar may hit a snag with youngest son LaMelo, who already has his own shoe under the family’s Big Baller Brand.
LaMelo, who has verbally committed to UCLA, could be sacrificing his amateur status by making money off of his own name and brand and thus not be eligible to play college basketball when he graduates high school in two years.
LaVar explained to Baxter Holmes of ESPN how they would respond if LaMelo is declared ineligible by the NCAA, and his plan could actually help him wind up with the Lakers if he takes it far enough:
“We’ll sit out a year or two,” LaVar said. “Just get stronger and faster, and then go into [NBA training] camp as a free agent. He already got the narrative — he can play, he can play. You see what he’s doing at 15 and 16. Don’t think that by the time he gets 17, 18 that he ain’t going to be 10 times better than what he is now. And everybody says, ‘Oh, he got to gain more weight.’ Why? What you have to do is be strong. It ain’t about the weight. It’s about the strength.”
Should LaMelo be ineligible to play in college, he could simply sit out for a year after high school (or play overseas, though LaVar has stressed they don’t need him to do that) and then enter the 2020 draft.
However, if he really wants to play for the Lakers, it can be done according to the rules of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, though it would require sacrificing many years of basketball.
If LaMelo were to be drafted and refuse to sign his rookie contract in 2020, he would be re-entered into the following year’s draft. Were he to do the same in 2021, he would enter the 2022 season as a free agent and be eligible to sign with whomever he chooses.
This would be an extreme situation, but if LaVar is truly committed to seeing his boys all play for the Lakers, it would be a way to ensure that it happens, assuming the Lakers wanted to bring him in.