SYDNEY (AP) — LaMelo Ball’s bid to be a club owner in Australia hasn’t worked out. The American is expected to be a top pick in the upcoming NBA draft later this year.
The Australian league — called the National Basketball League — has announced that a license for the Wollongong-based Hawks would go to a consortium led by ex-Philadelphia 76ers general manager Bryan Colangelo.
Ball’s business manager, Jermaine Jackson, told ESPN in April that the ownership of the financially struggling club, where the 18-year-old American played last season, was a “done deal.”
But Australia’s NBL issued a statement Wednesday saying the license for the club, located about 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Sydney, had been awarded to a syndicate including Colangelo, Michael Proctor, and former Sydney Kings co-owner Dorry Kordahi.
Ball joined the Hawks last year as part of the NBL’s Next Stars program and averaged 17 points, seven assists and seven rebounds in 12 games until December, when his season finished because of a bone bruise on his left foot.
Colangelo, who also was previously general manager of the Phoenix Suns and Toronto Raptors, said the Next Stars program sparked interest in the league.
“LaMelo Ball, among others, serves as a great example of just how influential the NBL has become on a global basis,” he said.
NBL owner Larry Kestelman said Colangelo’s syndicate was the “best credentialed to deliver long-term success.”
“The decision in choosing the right owners was not an easy one,” Kestelman said in a statement. “I would like, in particular, to thank LaMelo Ball and his organization for the support and interest shown in wanting to achieve the best outcome for the team.”
“We hope we can explore future opportunities with LaMelo and wish him all the best for the NBA Draft in October.” ___
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