Advertisement

Agent says Bronny James staying in NBA draft: ‘Lakers need to look at Bronny like everyone else’

Bronny James listens to reporters during the 2024 NBA basketball Draft Combine
Bronny James at the NBA draft combine May 14 in Chicago.
(Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press)
Share

Bronny James’ agent says the son of the NBA’s all-time leading scorer will remain in the 2024 NBA draft after playing one year of college basketball at USC.

“He’s staying in the draft,” Klutch Sports Chief Executive Rich Paul said in an interview with ESPN published early Wednesday, less than 24 hours before the 11:59 p.m. Eastern time NCAA deadline James had to make the decision.

The son of Lakers superstar LeBron James and a former McDonald’s All-American who starred at Chatsworth Sierra Canyon High, Bronny James suffered sudden cardiac arrest last summer before joining the Trojans on the court in December. He averaged 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 25 games with USC.

Advertisement

Last month, James declared for the NBA draft while also entering the NCAA transfer portal and maintaining his college eligibility.

Scouts and executives see Bronny James as a viable NBA player and confirm he could be leverage to force the Lakers into a trade to unite him with his father.

May 19, 2024

“Bronny’s [draft] range is wide,” Paul told ESPN. “He’s a really good prospect who has a lot of room for growth. It only takes one team. I don’t care where that team is — it can be No. 1 or 58 — [but] I do care about the plan, the development. The team’s strategy, the opportunity and the financial commitment. That’s why I’m not doing a two-way deal. Every team understands that.”

LeBron James said earlier in his career that his dream was to one day play with his oldest son in the NBA. James, who can opt out of his contract with the Lakers this summer, has since backed off that statement in favor of allowing his son to follow his own path.

According to The Times’ Dan Woike, the assumption within the Lakers organization and around the NBA is that James will opt out of his current deal and sign a new two- or three-year contract with the Lakers for maximum money.

“The Lakers need to look at Bronny like everyone else,” Paul told ESPN. “If they value him enough and he’s there, that’s great. If it’s not the Lakers, that’s great. I won’t be mad if it’s not. It’s obvious that people hear the conversation around the dad and son playing together, but that’s not our focus. If it happens organically, great. I’m not building on that.

“I would be happy about getting to the league instead of me thinking about playing with my dad,” Bronny James said at NBA draft combine Tuesday.

May 14, 2024

“I’m not putting unrealistic expectations on Bronny. He’s far from a finished product. But he has a hell of [a] start. He’s positioned well. ... I don’t see him not getting drafted, but if it got to a point where the situations didn’t make sense and we needed to go undrafted, that’s fine.”

Advertisement

The Lakers could take James in the first or second round of next month’s draft. The Lakers’ first-round pick at No. 17 depends on whether the New Orleans Pelicans defer it to 2025. The Lakers have the No. 55 pick in the second round.

Advertisement