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Adidas reportedly catered to LaVar Ball, ejected ref due to interest in signing Lakers’ Lonzo Ball to shoe deal

Could Ball be wearing a new shoe soon?

NBA: Summer League-Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Lakers Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball took over Las Vegas Summer League with his play, but somehow it was his shoes that took over the news cycle coming out of the tournament.

Ball notoriously signed with his own shoe label, Big Baller Brand, to produce his signature shoe (the ZO2s) rather than signing with a more established shoe company, but made headlines in Las Vegas by wearing multiple other signature shoes in an apparent effort to show those companies the type of buzz he can create.

Ball’s father, LaVar Ball, said that his son is still available to sign with a major shoe brand “if the price is right,” and according to a recent report Adidas may be trying to close in on exactly what that price would be.

Myron Medcalf of ESPN reports that Adidas ejected the referee LaVar was feuding with during a tournament in Las Vegas because they’re “considering” trying to sign Lonzo to a shoe deal (emphasis mine):

Before a female referee was replaced on Friday, officials with Adidas had pressured referees at their Summer Championships event in Las Vegas to avoid calling technical fouls against LaVar Ball because of his drawing power and their potential courtship of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball, a source told ESPN.

LaVar Ball threatened to pull his Big Baller Brand AAU team off the court on Friday morning after receiving a technical foul, eventually leading to a female referee being replaced midgame.

The source said event officals, supplied by ex-NBA ref Ed Rush's Court Club Elite group, were told to "put three officials on the game who will keep him in the building" whenever LaVar's Big Baller Brand team played this week.

Medcalf gets into more dirt about the actual ejection in his report, but the big news that’s (tangentially) related to the Lakers here is that we might be seeing Lonzo move a bit closer to a deal with a major shoe brand if they’re already making efforts to placate his family’s freaking AAU team.

There were obviously other reasons and other things to discuss in regards to LaVar’s behavior (as I’m sure many of you will do in the comments below), but Lonzo possibly signing with Adidas is huge, especially considering that he’s already been selling his signature shoe with a different brand. Before the draft, it sounded as if his father’s plan was to have Big Baller Brand co-produce a shoe with one of the major producers, although it’s unknown if Adidas would agree to such an arrangement.

A lot is up in the air right now, but one thing is for sure: after how much buzz his choice in shoes created in Las Vegas, the price for Lonzo jumping ship will certainly be steep. In this case, it might have even included tossing out a referee that disagreed with his father.

Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.

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