There is a lot of controversy surrounding the three Ball brothers, mostly because of the eccentric personality of their father, LaVar Ball. He has made some really questionable claims about his sons over the years, and the whole family has really kept the media busy. LaVar's most recent antics involve pulling LiAngelo out of UCLA and LaMelo out of his high-school, and searching for a team abroad that can take them both.
LaVar has already approached some European teams, but he has received somewhat negative responses. While it might be a really risky choice for two young kids to forego college and high-school, here are the 6 best destinations for them abroad :
6. Anadolu Efes - Turkey
Anadolu Efes are participating in the Turkish top-tier league, the Superliga, and it is a great landing spot for the Ball brothers. The Turkish team is not doing so good in either their domestic league, or the Euroleague.
However, that's exactly the situation the Ball brothers would like to see themselves in, as the expectations would not be high. They would surely get some playing time there, and some much needed experience from playing the Euroleague. They will also find some fellow US players there, like CJ McCollum's brother, Erick, who can help them transition to a new life.
5. Armani Milano - Italy
Armani Milano have been consistent participants in the Euroleague the past years, but this season they have not been all that good. Besides struggling in the very competitive Euroleague, they have also had tough luck in the Italian Lega A. They are not challenging any of the play-off spots in the Euroleague, and are sitting at the 4th spot of their domestic league.
This is a great opportunity for the Ball brothers, as they could easily work their way into the rotation. Armani Milano have severed troubles in the scoring department this season, and they could probably use a player like LaMelo.
4. Zalgiris Kaunas - Lithuania
While this is a team that has focused mainly on having domestic players in their roster (eight of the fourteen players are Lithuanian), they do rely on US players like most teams. Coach Sarunas Jasikevicius is a former player who has had a really successful career as a scorer, both in the Euroleague and in the NBA with the Pacers and the Warriors.
He is also really good as a coach and as a mentor, so LaMelo Ball could thrive under his guidance. Coach Jasikevicius has won numerous MVP awards in his career, and LaMelo can really learn something from the veteran sharpshooter. While LiAngelo's outlook might not be the best in this team, LaMelo could easily be groomed to be a really consistent scorer.
3. Panathinaikos - Greece
Panathinaikos is one of the most successful teams in the history of the Euroleague so far, having captured the title on six occasions. Panathinaikos might have not captured a Euroleague title since 2010-11, and might have also failed to reach the Final Four since 2011-12, but they have a closed ticket to play in the Euroleague every season.
The club has had a long history of ties with the NBA, with legends like Dominique Wilkins and Byron Scott having played there.
Moreover, players who went on to have an NBA career include Vassilis Spanoulis, George Papagiannis and Nikola Pekovic. This would be a great landing spot for the Ball brothers, as Panathinaikos are in fact in need of some good scorers right now.
2. Beikong Fly Dragons - China
While it may be sort of difficult for the Ball brothers to find the playing time they want in Europe, they can surely find it in China. Oddly enough, the team is led by the now 40-year-old Stephon Marbury, a former two-time NBA All-Star. He has won two CBA titles with the Beijing Ducks, and the fans there revere him.
He can be the mentor that the Ball brothers really need, and they could both get steady playing time in a team that sits in the lower echelons of the league table. Had it not been for LiAngelo's recent mishaps with the law in China, this would be the perfect landing spot. Even so, every man deserves a second chance, and they just might get a chance to redeem themselves.
1. Prienu Vytautas - Lithuania
One of the most possible landing spots for the Ball brothers has emerged in the past hours, and it is Prienu Vytautas from Lithuania. They participate in the domestic LKL league, the top-tier league in Lithuania. However, the Ball brothers should not expect to get a lot of playing time in that competition, but rather in the BBL.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski, they are very close to sign a deal with Prienu Vytautas:
BBL stands for Baltic Basketball League, and it is an international competition much like Euroleague, but the stakes are much lower. The Ball brothers will get a chance to develop their skills there, but life in the small village will be a really challenging transition. Moreover, the team has a roster of mostly Lithuanians, so the language barrier might be something to consider. In any case, Prienu Vytautas will reportedly decide in the next 24-48 hours whether they will sign them or not.