Knicks Rumors: 'Multiple Teams' Know LaMelo Ball Wants to Be Drafted by Knicks

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJuly 9, 2020

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 07: Professional basketball player LaMelo Ball, right, attends the game between the USC Trojans and the UCLA Bruins at Galen Center on March 7, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Potential No. 1 overall NBA draft pick and ex-Illawarra Hawks point guard LaMelo Ball reportedly wants to play for the New York Knicks.

Ian Begley of provided the scoop Thursday:

"As teams do their homework on players in the draft, there’s been a consistent theme about LaMelo Ball: multiple teams believe Ball and those in his circle prefer that he lands in New York. (Those teams have picks projected later in the first round than the Knicks, for what it’s worth.)

"The intel from the teams align with what LaVar Ball, LaMelo’s father, has said about his son and the Knicks and from previous reporting.

"The New York Post reported last month that some in the NBA believe LaVar Ball will try to 'steer' LaMelo to the Knicks. But the report didn’t suggest how Ball would actually do that."

New York needs a long-term solution at point guard, and Ball might be the answer.

The problem is the Knicks may not be in position to draft Ball, who's ranked No. 1 on Bleacher Report draft expert Jonathan Wasserman's big board. The Athletic's Sam Vecenie also has him as the draft's top prospect. He's a near-consensus top-three player.

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The Knicks could get lucky in the draft lottery, but they have just a 9 percent chance to land the No. 1 overall pick and a 37.2 percent shot get a top-four selection, per Tankathon.

Barring the lottery pingpong balls bouncing the Knicks' way, New York's best chance to get him might be having LaVar Ball "steer" his youngest son to the team, as the New York Post mentioned.

Top draft picks refusing to play for the teams they were drafted by and successfully landing elsewhere isn't unprecedented in American professional sports.

In 1983, the Baltimore Colts drafted John Elway, but he refused to play for the team and threatened to play baseball instead. The Colts eventually traded him to the Denver Broncos.

Another example occurred in 1999, when the Vancouver Grizzlies drafted star Maryland guard Steve Francis at No. 2 overall. Francis made it clear that he refused to play for the Grizz, however, and eventually landed with the Houston Rockets in an 11-player deal.

Perhaps Ball can make it work and find himself with the Knicks, but pulling off such a maneuver isn't commonplace, even if it's been done before.

Ball suited up for 12 games in the National Basketball League, which is the top pro league in Australia and New Zealand. He averaged 17.0 points, 7.6 rebounds and 6.8 assists.