NBL Commissioner Jeremy Loeliger has issued an update surrounding LaMelo Ball’s prospective purchase of the Illawarra Hawks.
There was news floating around last week suggesting the teenager, who is being touted as a top-5 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, was set to buy the NBL club that he played 12 games for in the 2019/20 season.
The Hawks went into voluntary administration on Friday and immediately there was talk that Ball’s consortium was set to become the team’s new owners after his manager Jermaine Jackson told ESPN it was a “done deal”.
The NBL swiftly released a statement saying it has “final approval on any transfer of licence and no application has been made to date” with Loeliger moving to further clear up any confusion.
“It did catch us by surprise,” he said on SEN Breakfast.
“A few people got a bit ahead of themselves there.
“But it’s worth pointing out that we have had good discussions with LaMelo and his management as well as Tory Lavalle who is a local businessman in Wollongong and has been a proponent of of putting that consortium together.
“They are one of a number of parties that we are talking to.”
Loeliger insists there is plenty of interest from a number of groups in acquiring the Hawks who are a foundation club of the NBL.
“The (previous) company (owned by Simon Stratford) has been put into voluntary administration. The league has taken back control of the licence,” he added.
“We are standing behind any outstanding player entitlements to make sure everyone is made whole for this current season.
“And then we’ll run a process to find the next owner. We’re committed to ensuring Illawarra remains in the NBL and remains there for a long and fruitful future.”
“We don’t want to see any club go under as a result of the coronavirus. There are a number of parties interested including LaMelo Ball and his management and we’re continuing to have discussions with them.”
He added further: “Since LaMelo Ball’s team made those comments, we’d had another two or three expressions of interest from very significant offshore investors as well as another two or three locals who have put their hand up to show interest.
“These are really well-credentialed individuals and organisations so it’s a very promising sign.”
Listen to Loeliger on SEN Breakfast below: