It may be a while, if ever, before we see LiAngelo Ball on the Lakers roster.
After going undrafted Thursday night, the former UCLA athlete was reportedly informed he would not be on Los Angeles’ summer league team. ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne broke the news early Friday after speaking to sources with knowledge of the situation.
Prior to the 2018 draft, LiAngelo had worked out with the Golden State Warriors as well as the Lakers. Shelburne reports the latter squad never promised LiAngelo he would receive an invite, and that their choice would be purely based on performance; however, sources suggest LaVar Ball’s media antics played a big role in the Lakers’ decision.
LiAngelo’s older brother, Lonzo, was drafted second overall by Los Angeles in the 2017 NBA Draft. Since then, the team has had to deal with a considerate amount of drama involving the Ball family patriarch, who has publicly bashed head coach Luke Walton for the way he handled the team.
“You can see they're not playing for Luke no more,” LaVar said back in January. “Luke doesn't have control of the team no more […] Nobody wants to play for him. I can see it. No high-fives when they come out of the game. People don't know why they're in the game. He's too young. He's too young.... He ain't connecting with them anymore. You can look at every player, he's not connecting with not one player.”
At one point, LaVar even threatened to pull Lonzo out of the Lakers franchise if the team failed to sign LiAngelo and his youngest son, LaMelo.
“I want all three boys to play for the Lakers. But if that does not happen, I’m telling you the story [of] what’s going to happen first,” he told Lithuanian basketball journalist Donatas Urbonas in February. “If they don’t take Gelo this year, I bring back Gelo here [Lithuania] to play with Melo for two years. Lonzo will be on his third year, and I’ll let every NBA team know that Lonzo is not going to re-sign with the Lakers, but will go to any team that will take all of my three boys. That’s my plan.”