LaMelo Ball still keen to buy NBL team Illawarra Hawks

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LaMelo Ball remains interested in purchasing the Illawarra Hawks as the NBL continues to oversee the franchise's sale.

Ball made a huge impression during his stint with the Hawks before returning to the United States, and then last month declared his interest in buying the NBL franchise.

But he has had no indication as to whether the sale will proceed, father LaVar Ball has confirmed.

"We are just waiting to see what they (NBL) say," LaVar told the Australian Associated Press on Thursday.

ESPN has contacted the NBL for comment.

Ball's manager Jermaine Jackson told ESPN early last month that: "We own the team ... it's a done deal." But the NBL was quick to respond, stating no sale had been agreed and the league was working with outgoing owner Simon Stratford on "a number of options for what we hope will be a fruitful outcome for Illawarra and the NBL."

LaVar Ball admitted the current COVID-19 pandemic had slowed the process.

LaMelo Ball and R.J. Hampton added serious star appeal to the NBL last season as they prepared for the NBA Draft in Australia and New Zealand respectively - Hampton was signed to the Breakers - instead of a one-year stint in college basketball.

But the NBA has since moved to curb what could have been a flood of young players joining the NBL's Next Stars program by increasing the salary value in its own G League pathway.

NBL boss Jeremy Loeliger last week told ESPN he was confident the Next Stars Program would remain an attractive option for some of America's best young talent despite the G League changes.

"The bright side of it all for me is that it's adding further weight to the point-of-view that there is an alternative to the NCAA, which I think is helpful for the Next Stars Program in that it adds legitimacy that there is another route," Loeliger said.

And LaVar agrees.

"Just say the G League gets 12 players, there's another group of players out there who haven't been asked and the NBL might be like, 'How about you come over to Australia?'," he told AAP.

"They will be like, 'Well, the G League didn't ask me so I'll go to Australia'."