Basketball: Ball brothers LiAngelo and LaMelo sign with Lithuanian club

LiAngelo (left) and LaMelo Ball have signed one-year deals to play with the Lithuanian club Vytautas Prienai. PHOTOS: AFP, REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - Lavar Ball is taking two of his sons to play overseas in Lithuania.

LiAngelo Ball, who left the University of California at Los Angeles earlier this month without ever playing a game, and LaMelo Ball, who withdrew from high school in his junior season, signed one-year deals to play with the Lithuanian club Vytautas Prienai, multiple media outlets reported on Tuesday (Dec 12).

The reported signings come days after Lavar Ball told ESPN that his two sons signed with an agent - Harrison Gaines of Slash Sports Entertainment - to work out a deal to play abroad.

The younger brothers of Los Angeles Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball, LiAngelo, 19, and LaMelo, 16, will join Vytautas in January, Yahoo Sports reported, citing sources.

ESPN reported that the team and the Ball family were involved in negotiations on Monday before finalising an agreement later in the day.

Vytautas field teams in both the Lithuanian and Baltic leagues, with the latter the lesser competitive of the two circuits. The Ball brothers are expected to play in the Baltic league.

"I don't care about the money," LaVar Ball said last Thursday when explaining why his sons signed with an agent. "I want them to go somewhere where they will play them together on the court at the same time. The priority is for the boys to play on the same team."

Gaines told Yahoo Sports that he was engaged in talks with a number of clubs, but said it made the most sense to sign with Vytautas.

"It was critical to find a situation in a competitive league that works with both of their short- and long-term goals," Gaines told the website.

LaVar Ball pulled LiAngelo from UCLA earlier this month, telling ESPN that he was frustrated that the school had not made a determination on the length of his son's suspension following an arrest for shoplifting while in China last month.

LiAngelo Ball and fellow freshmen basketball players Cody Riley and Jalen Hill created an international incident that eventually involved US President Donald Trump. While visiting Beijing as part of a five-nation Asia tour, Mr Trump personally asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to help resolve the case.

LaMelo Ball initially was targeted to play at UCLA in two years by his father, but that plan changed. He was taken out of Chino Hills (Calif.) High to be home-schooled for his junior year.

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