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Report: LaMelo Ball's Camp Negotiating Sneaker Contract Amid No. 1 Pick Buzz

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistSeptember 24, 2019

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 22: LaMelo Ball of the Illawarra Hawks speaks to media during a NBL media opportunity at The Blackman on August 22, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)
Kelly Defina/Getty Images

LaMelo Ball's representatives are reportedly negotiating a sneaker deal as he prepares to enter the 2020 NBA draft. 

According to ESPN's Jonathan Givony, Ball was not seen wearing any Big Baller Brand merchandise during the recent NBL Blitz preseason tournament in Australia, but he did don some Nike gear.

Ball's camp has reportedly already been negotiating with multiple brands, and it isn't yet clear which shoe he will wear in the NBA.

Ball's father, LaVar Ball, was highly involved when LaMelo's brother, Lonzo Ball, went No. 2 overall to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2017 NBA draft. LaVar also made Lonzo the face of Big Baller Brand. But the company has enjoyed minimal success, and Lonzo has since moved on from BBB.

With regard to LaMelo, LaVar has reportedly had "minimal contact" with his son's Illawarra Hawks team, and LaMelo's high school coach, former NBA player Jermaine Jackson, has taken over as his trainer and mentor.

Ball is reportedly establishing himself as one of the top prospects in the 2020 NBA draft class, especially after recently registering 19 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists against the Perth Wildcats, who won the NBL championship last season.

ESPN @espn

"I'm trying to be the No. 1 pick for the 2020 draft." LaMelo Ball announces on The Jump with @Rachel__Nichols that he will play in Australia's NBL for the Illawarra Hawks next season. https://t.co/G9z4bCl4E5

One anonymous NBA executive suggested Ball has a chance to go No. 1 overall in the 2020 draft, per Givony: "If he keeps this up, I don't see any way he isn't in the conversation for the No. 1 overall pick. He completely changed my perception of the type of prospect he is, and all of the background info I gathered here from his coaches and teammates paint a very different story of what I thought about him off the court as well."

Also, a scout compared Ball to Dallas Mavericks guard and reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Luka Doncic based on "his size, his feel and his creativity."

As of last month, Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman ranked Ball as the No. 6 overall player in the upcoming draft class behind only Frenchmen Killian Hayes and Theo Maledon, Israel's Deni Avdija, North Carolina's Cole Anthony and Georgia's Anthony Edwards.

Zion Williamson reportedly signed a five-year, $75 million shoe deal with Jordan Brand after the New Orleans Pelicans took him No. 1 overall in the 2019 NBA draft, and while Ball's deal may not quite reach that level, the fact that he is already a well-known commodity in basketball circles should help him land a lucrative contract.

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