What’s up, guys? Beija here for Complex News.
Now that LaVar Ball has pulled his middle son LiAngelo out of UCLA, everyone is wondering where he’ll play next. Judging by the comments LaVar made about LiAngelo wanting to enter the NBA Draft next June, it doesn’t seem like LiAngelo is going to transfer to different college. But if LiAngelo wants to have any chance of getting drafted, he’s going to need to play somewhere to prepare himself for life at the next level, so there is a lot of speculation about where he could potentially end up.
There are some NBA insiders who have suggested LiAngelo could attempt to sign with a team overseas. There are even reports about an agent reaching out to different teams in Europe to gauge interest in LiAngelo as well as his younger brother LaMelo, who was also pulled out of his high school by LaVar earlier this year. In a perfect world, it sounds like LaVar wants both of the younger Ball boys to spend time playing professionally outside of the U.S. before eventually returning to the States and entering the NBA like their older brother Lonzo.
The problem is that it doesn’t seem like there are many teams outside of the U.S. clamoring to sign the Ball brothers. The coach of one Lithuanian team even went as far as to troll the Balls in the most petty way possible after a report emerged about his team being interested in signing LiAngelo and LaMelo. So LaVar and his sons might have to get creative when it comes to finding a team to sign them—and it could end up leading them back to China of all places.
If you’ve been following LiAngelo’s life over the last month, then you know that he just got back from China a couple weeks ago after getting arrested in the country during a trip there with the UCLA team. LiAngelo and two of his teammates were accused of shoplifting from several high-end stores and were thrown in jail for doing it. The charges against them were eventually dropped, and they were allowed to return to the U.S. But they were suspended indefinitely by UCLA upon their arrival back to America, which is part of the reason why LaVar and LiAngelo decided that it would be best for LiAngelo to leave UCLA this week.
With all that in mind, you might not think China would be a logical landing spot for LiAngelo. But TMZ Sports caught up with LaVar while he was preparing to take a flight at Los Angeles International Airport on Wednesday, and they asked him if he thinks there’s any chance of LiAngelo going back to China to play professionally. His response might surprise you.
“Of course. Why not? I don’t know what he’s going to do, but [China] would be happy to have him.”
Chinese basketball teams have welcomed plenty of U.S. basketball stars with open arms in the past, including a few that have caused drama throughout their careers. Stephon Marbury is basically basketball royalty in China at this point, and one of the only reasons he went to China to play was because of the trouble he encountered in the NBA late in his career.
But would a Chinese basketball team really welcome LiAngelo after all the controversy he has caused in the country in recent weeks? It sounds like a crazy idea, but then again, this entire LiAngelo saga has included one crazy story after another, so we wouldn’t even be surprised if he somehow ended up spending time in China to play basketball. We’ll just have to wait and see if he ends up doing it.
That’s the news for now, but for all the latest news on LiAngelo Ball, subscribe to Complex News on YouTube. For Complex News, I’m Beija Velez.