Detroit Pistons: LiAngelo Ball on his way back?

US basketball player LiAngelo Ball takes part in his first training session in Prienai, LithuaniaAFP PHOTO / Petras Malukas (Photo credit should read PETRAS MALUKAS/AFP via Getty Images)
US basketball player LiAngelo Ball takes part in his first training session in Prienai, LithuaniaAFP PHOTO / Petras Malukas (Photo credit should read PETRAS MALUKAS/AFP via Getty Images) /

LiAngelo Ball was in the Detroit Pistons training camp last month. He has now signed a contract with the G-League. Will he be representing the Pistons?

While the NBA has been making its way thru the pandemic with no fans, but also few postponements, its minor league, the G-League, has struggled to even get started.

It appears the G-League will have a season. The league will reportedly start up its season, where the NBA ended last season, in a Bubble in Orlando. The tentative start date for the season is February 8.

There is supposed to be a G-League draft held on Monday. Among the players who will get allocated is LiAngelo Ball, who spent training camp with the Detroit Pistons.

The 6-foot-5 brother of NBA players Lonzo and LaMelo Ball, was signed to an Exhibit 10 contract by the Pistons after working out in Detroit with former Pistons Will Bynum over the summer.

An ankle injury prevented Ball from seeing action in any of the Pistons preseason games. He was waived on December 13.

LiAngelo’s father, LaVar Ball, was not pleased with the Pistons cutting him. On a Bleacher Report AMA, he said:

"“I definitely have thoughts on that. The people in Detroit are great. I love the fans, but the franchise over there is raggedy as hell. They don’t know a good player. I was giving them a lottery pick for free! Has the skills to play and the notoriety to bring everybody to the game. How do you throw that out the window?”They’re gonna learn the hard way. My boys are gonna end up together playing somewhere. ‘Gelo can shoot the lights out. That was raggedy what they did. But hey, they’re gonna learn the hard way.”"

No other NBA team has picked up LiAngelo so far.

In a normal situation (which this has certainly not been), Ball would be playing for the Grand Rapids Drive, the Pistons G-League affiliate this season.

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Because Ball signed an Exhibit 10 deal, he would have made up to $50,000 extra by playing for the Drive.

But while NBA teams can exist on TV money , G-League teams get almost all their revenue from gate receipts. In case you have not seen the stands at Lions or Pistons game, fans are not a thing in Michigan.

But the G-League is an important component for the development of players, as well as giving a second chance to those who may have been overlooked by NBA teams.

With foreign leagues in not much better shape than the local G-League teams, there is little opportunity for players who are not on NBA rosters. Having some kind of G-League season then becomes even more imperative.

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Not all the NBA teams are having entries in Orlando. Detroit, reportedly,  will not have their own G-League teams in the bubble.

However, teams can add players to other teams rosters, and can have a player’s rights assigned to them. The Warriors are doing this, as Jeremy Lin will play in the Bubble but be assigned to their Santa Cruz G-League team.

So the question is, if Ball plays in the G-League, is his Pistons Exhibit 10 contract still in effect? Financially, it certainly would be to his advantage if it was.

If the G-League assigned Ball to the Drive, even if the Drive is not in Orlando, he is basically one step away from being  on Detroit’s NBA roster.

With the Pistons suffering a multitude of injuries, if (and we mean if) Ball looks good in the G-League, does Detroit give him a second look? Even if he is not assigned to Detroit, Ball would be eligible to be signed by any NBA team.

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Since Ball was in the Pistons training camp, he knows coach Dwane Casey’s system so, if Detroit needs immediate help, he could get in the flow quickly.

Is LiAngelo Ball going to be in a Pistons uniform anytime soon? Probably not. But, by being in the G-League, he is where Detroit pretty much planned him to be anyhow. If the Pistons keep losing players to injury, it might happen.