LaVar Ball: LaMelo Still 'Ready, Willing and Able' to Buy NBL's Illawarra Hawks

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMay 1, 2020

FILE - In this Nov. 17, 2019, file photo, LaMelo Ball of the Illawarra Hawks carries the ball up during their game against the Sydney Kings in the Australian Basketball League in Sydney.  LaMelo Ball's bone bruise on his left foot is expected to keep him out of the Illawarra Hawks lineup for the remainder of the National Basketball League season in Australia. The 18-year-old American, who joined Illawarra as part of the NBL's Next Stars program, is expected to be a first-round pick in this year's NBA draft.(AP Photo/Rick Rycroft, File)
Rick Rycroft/Associated Press

LaVar Ball spoke with AAP's Peter Mitchell (h/t ESPN) and said that his son, star 2020 NBA draft prospect LaMelo Ball, is still interested in buying his former professional team, the National Basketball League's Ilwarra Hawks.

Ball said LaMelo is "ready, willing and able" to buy the franchise and that "we are just waiting to see what [the NBL] say." 

Ball also added the following: "He is interested in buying the Hawks. One of the things I told my boys is ownership is a big thing."

Ball is also the father of New Orleans Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball and LiAngelo Ball, who played for the G League's Oklahoma City Blue.

Word emerged in early April regarding LaMelo Ball's interest in buying the Hawks, and Ball's manager Jermaine Jackson even told ESPN's Jonathan Givony that "we own the team" and that "it's a done deal."

"Melo loves the Illawarra fans," Jackson added. "He loves that community. They opened their arms to him. They made us feel like we are at home. When we started hearing about the issues they were going through, we talked about it and decided, 'Let's own the team.'"

As for how Ball will handle being an NBA player and owning a team simultaneously, Jackson provided some insight: "He is going to be locked into his NBA career, but we are going to hire the right people to oversee everything. He wants to create the best basketball program possible for that community there."

However, the NBL soon released a statement saying nothing was a done deal as of yet, although the league did confirm ongoing discussions:

"The NBL would like to clarify the current situation regarding LaMelo Ball and the Illawarra Hawks.

"The league can confirm LaMelo Ball and his management had discussions about being involved with the club while he was playing in the NBL last season.

"At this point we are continuing to work with current licence holder Simon Stratford on a number of options for what we hope will be a fruitful outcome for Illawarra and the NBL.

"The NBL has final approval on any transfer of licence and no application has been made to date. The NBL has no further comment at this stage."

Ball played 12 games for the Hawks last season, averaging 17.0 points, 7.6 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 1.6 steals per game.

The 18-year-old is No. 1 on Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report's current big board of 2020 NBA draft prospects.