Following reports LaMelo Ball was set to purchase the Illawarra Hawks, after the NBL club went into voluntary administration, NBL Commissioner, Jeremy Loeliger, said the club has a lot of interested buyers.
LaMelo Ball, who is projected to be a top five pick in the 2020 NBA Draft following his 2019/20 season with the Hawks, only played 12 games with the club, but said he had developed a strong connection for the Hawks in his short time there.
NBL Commissioner, Jeremy Loeliger, told SEN Breakfast the NBL has final approval on any transfer of licence and had received no application to date.
“It did catch us by surprise,” Loeliger said, discussing LaMelo Ball’s manager, Jermaine Jackson, telling ESPN Ball’s consortium was set to become the Hawks’ new owners.
“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 putting that consortium together.
“They are one of a number of parties that we are talking to,” he said.
After the Hawks went into voluntary administration, the NBL took control of the licence in an effort to keep the foundation club in the competition.
“We are standing behind any outstanding player entitlements to make sure everyone is made whole for this current season,” Loeliger said.
“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.
“Since LaMelo Ball’s team made those comments, we’ve had another two or three expressions of interest from very significant off-shore 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,” he concluded.