BIRSTUNAS, Lithuania — Prienu Vytautas, the Lithuanian team in which LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball are set to make their professional debuts next week, are in discussions to set up a new tournament later this month to get the brothers more playing time.
“We’re discussing a new tournament now to play five games here in Prienai in our arena,” the team’s general manager, Adomas Kubilius, told ESPN. “It would be with EuroLeague teams.
“We’re talking to teams like Zalgiris and CSKA Moscow about playing in it. It would be an opportunity for them to play more games, and play against players of similar age.”
LiAngelo, 19, and LaMelo Ball, 16, landed at the Vilnius Airport on Wednesday night at around 8 p.m. local time to a throng of local media. Renowned local musician Jurgis Did was singing a rendition of “Welcome to Lithuania” as Lavar Ball and his sons made their way from baggage claim to their party bus. The family, including LaVar’s wife, Tina, made the hourlong drive to the remote town of Birstunas, where they will stay at a four-star spa while they are in Lithuania.
The team was slated to have a pair of practices Thursday, but the brothers will not participate as they get adjusted to the time change. Their first practice will be Friday morning, according to Kubilius, which will be followed by a news conference at Harmony Park.
“They just want to find a spot to shoot and workout tomorrow,” LaVar Ball told ESPN on Wednesday night.
Vytautas will play Lietuvos Rytas on Saturday night in a Lithuanian League matchup, but LiAngelo and LaMelo will not play. Instead, Kubilius confirmed they will make their debuts on Jan. 9 at home against Tsmoki-Minsk in a Baltic League contest.
“Prienai is a small town and people still didn’t believe that they were actually coming,” Kubiulius said. “It will be an interesting time for all of us. It’s an opportunity for a little town to become known to the whole world.”