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Aussie league LaMelo Balls bid to buy club not a dondeal

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Aussie league: LaMelo Balls bid to buy club not a done deal

LaMelo Balls bid to be a club owner before making his NBA debut isnt a done deal _ yet

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 Balls 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 NBLs Next Stars program, is expected to be a first-round pick in this years NBA draft.(AP Photo/Rick Rycroft, File)

SYDNEY --LaMelo Balls bid to be a club owner before making his NBA debut isnt a done deal, yet.

Australias National Basketball League issued a statement Friday in response to reports overnight that Ball had bought the Illawarra Hawks, the club south of Sydney where he played 12 games last season.

Balls business manager, Jermaine Jackson, on Thursday told ESPN: We own the team. Its a done deal.

The 18-year-old American, who is expected to be first-round pick in the NBA draft, had an injury-shortened season with the Hawks because of a bone bruise on his left foot.

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

He is going to be locked into his NBA career, but we are going to hire the right people to oversee everything.

The NBL confirmed Ball and his manager had discussions with the Hawks owners while he was inAustralia, but at this point we are continuing to work with current license 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 license and no application has been made to date, the leagues statement said.

Ball joined Illawarra as part of the NBLs Next Stars program and averaged 17 points, seven assists and seven rebounds in 12 games until December

He helped draw big crowds, including a league-record 17,514 for the Hawks November game against the Sydney Kings in Sydney.

Ball also donated a month of his salary, which was not disclosed, to a national relief fund in aid of wildfire victims inAustraliain January.

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