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LiAngelo, LaMelo Ball sign one-year deals to join Lithuanian team, per report

It’s official.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers-Press Conference Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball have both finalized one-year deals to play with Lithuanian basketball club Prienu Vytautas, according to a report from The Vertical’s Shams Charania. They’re both expected to report to the club in early January.

The move comes after LiAngelo Ball, 19, was pulled out of UCLA last week and announced his intention to play professionally overseas. LaMelo Ball, 16, verbally committed to play at UCLA at 13 years old but will now instead begin his professional basketball career three years before he’s eligible to enter the NBA draft.

It’s unclear how what the value of their contracts are worth at this point. According to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, the brothers may not be playing for much with the Lithuanian Club and could be sent down to a minor league to play instead.

It’s hard for even the most grizzled veteran players to go overseas and get playing time. It’s a completely different world than what the Ball brothers are used to. Now they’ll have to navigate it together.

This is a huge deal for LaMelo Ball

It’s rare that you see top NBA prospects beginning their professional careers so early. Does it work out? Only time will tell. We’ve seen players like Ricky Rubio and Brandon Jennings have successful, middling NBA careers. Kristaps Porzingis is already a star. But we’ve also seen Emmanuel Mudiay struggle to make an adjustment to the league.

This could work out well for him, but it all depends on his talent and the work that he does there. Playing time will be scarce, so he’ll have to continue to improve off the court.

But not so much for LiAngelo Ball

He may have ended up here anyway. According to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, not many NBA executives believed in his pro potential in the league.

So without being able to showcase himself in college, this was probably his best bet aside from adding himself to the waiver pool in the NBA G-League. And even then, there’s no guarantee he’d be picked up by a team and he also wouldn’t have an opportunity for an NBA call up until next season.

Much like LaMelo, his playing time will be scarce. But he’ll still have an opportunity to improve and be around the game.

Playing overseas is still hard

This is going to be difficult for the Ball brothers. Yes, they’re now professional basketball players. But they’re navigating in an environment totally unfamiliar to them. They’re moving to a foreign country with a different culture — even in basketball.

Plus, it seems, their coach doesn’t even speak english.

Here’s one of his former player’s confirming that.

So, while this might be a successful move for the Ball family, it probably won’t be smooth sailing. We’ll see if this newest chapter in the Ball saga works out soon enough.

Big Baller Brand made the signing official on instagram: