LaVar Ball now has said for a second time he’d like his son, LaMelo Ball, to wind up a Knick.
On the “Load Management” podcast Wednesday, Ball also stated he’s certain his youngest son will be considered for the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Some league sources believe the Ball camp will try to steer the 18-year-old point guard to the Knicks, though such a maneuver will seem difficult if Leon Rose’s club doesn’t rise into the top four in the lottery.
The sixth-seeded Knicks have a 37.2 percent chance of moving up in a lottery that has been postponed from May 19.
During a recent appearance on FS1, the elder Ball said LaMelo would be perfect for the New York market.
“The best fit in my eyes is the New York Knicks,” LaVar said then. “It’s time for something good to happen to them.”
Asked Wednesday if he still feels that way about the Knicks, LaVar, a former practice squad tight end for the Jets, said, “I think so. The bright lights, East Coast, If everything lines up right, the Knicks get the first pick and get LaMelo and LiAngelo with him and somehow get Lonzo in the long run. Shoot – The Triple B’s. The Ball Brothers on Broadway.”
LiAngelo, LaVar’s middle son, is a free agent after going undrafted in 2018 and recently signed a G League contract.
In an interesting maneuver, the Ball brothers left the Creative Artists Agency in early March just at the time Rose departed for the Knicks’ presidency.
In late April, LaMelo signed on with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and Raymond Brothers, a top agent who is known to be a longtime friend of Knicks GM Scott Perry.
The manager for LaMelo is now Jermaine Jackson, a former Knicks shooting guard in 2004-05 who was Ball’s prep-school coach at Spire in Ohio. In a statement on the Roc Nation move provided to ESPN, Jackson mentioned the Knicks.
“They put together a beautiful game plan with Jay-Z,” Jackson said. “The basketball game is about to change. They are going to create something totally new. I’ve known Jay-Z since I played for the Knicks, but this is what the kids wanted to do. Jay-Z is a master at what he does.”
Steering LaMelo to the Knicks will be no easy chore, but it makes sense. The Knicks are one of the few teams sorely lacking a starting point guard and in need of a savior. Rose has been brought in to deliver star power.
Before the 2017 Draft, LaVar lobbied for the Lakers to pick Lonzo with the No. 2 pick and reportedly refused to let others work him out. “Oh, he’s going to be a Laker,” he said back then. “I’m going to keep talking about it until it happens.”
And it happened. Another case example came in the 2015 draft when Kristaps Porzingis refused to work out for woebegone Philadelphia, which selected 3rd. The Sixers chose Jahlil Okafor instead and Porzingis dropped to the Knicks at 4.
“I think you could connect the dots,” one NBA source about an attempt to get LaMelo to the Knicks.
LaVar proclaimed Wednesday the 6-foot-7 LaMelo will beat out Anthony Edwards and James Wiseman for the No. 1 pick.
“Whoever is the most popular usually is going to go No. 1,” LaVar said on the podcast. “Zion was the most popular. That’s why he’s No. 1. RJ Barrett (taken 3rd by the Knicks) was pretty good, did better at Duke but he wasn’t as popular as Zion. In LaMelo, you got the most popular and the best guard. Who’s not going to take him No. 1? … The youngest is always going to be the best.”
Some teams may be fearful of Ball because of his father’s outspoken nature, the point guard’s shaky outside shot and lack of defensive intensity in his brief foray in Australia (12 points, seven assists, six rebounds per game).
Rashad Phillips, who runs the Sports Talk 2319 mock draft and is a friend of LaVar’s, feels the father has mellowed some, though that didn’t come across on the podcast.
“I think LaVar is fantastic,” Phillips told The Post. “Not too many people can say they will have two sons who will be drafted in the top 5. Obviously he’s doing something right.”
During Lonzo’s stint in Los Angeles, LaVar Ball questioned coach Luke Walton. “That was two years ago,” Phillips said. “People change, people grow, people evolve. I don’t think it’s fair for something he did two years ago to hold his feet to the fire.”
Indeed, LaVar has quieted since Lonzo was traded from the Lakers to New Orleans in the Anthony Davis blockbuster. That didn’t stop him from taking more shots at Walton Wednesday.
“The coach didn’t know how to use him,” LaVar said. “(People say) he’s out of the spotlight, not with the Lakers and doing so much better. The only thing different in the situation is the coaching Luke/(Alvin) Gentry. Two different coaches.”
LaVar Ball added Williamson came back from his knee injury this season in a desire to play with Lonzo. And he chided the Lakers, saying they won’t win the title if the season resumes.
“If you ever get rid of Lonzo, you’ll never ever win another title – not until my boy decides to come back,” Ball said.
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