Shelburne spoke to a source who said the decision has "more to it than basketball," which she inferred to be a reference to Ball's father, LaVar Ball, tweeting, "the LaVar effect was real."
It's not hard to see why the Lakers would shy away from deepening the Ball family connections with the organization. LaVar has already provided his fair share of headaches for the Lakers over the past season.
Accommodating LaVar is one thing when doing so means having Lonzo Ball on your roster. Lonzo averaged 10.2 points, 6.9 rebounds and 7.2 assists as a rookie. Should he fail to become an All-Star point guard, he'll almost certainly be a solid starter in the NBA for years to become.
LiAngelo, on the other hand, isn't close to that level.
He left UCLA before playing in a regular-season game as a result of his arrest in China for suspicion of shoplifting. Ball then moved to the Lithuanian Basketball League (LKL), where he averaged 12.6 points, 2.9 rebounds and 0.9 assists and shot 41.5 percent from three-point range in 14 appearances for BC Vytautas.
Affording Ball the opportunity to play in the summer league or NBA G League makes sense, if only to see where he is relative to other players trying to crack the NBA. But he'll need to prove himself a lot more before he can achieve his goal of playing alongside Lonzo in Los Angeles.