How Bronny James Going Undrafted In 2024 Could Affect LeBron James & Lakers
Dec 10, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; USC Trojans guard Bronny James (6) on the bench in the first half against the Long Beach State 49ers at Galen Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has made it clear for a while that he would like to end his NBA career by playing with his son Bronny.
As time passes and LeBron continues to play at an extremely high level, that lofty goal of his is starting to become a reality.
Bronny is currently playing at USC as a freshman. Although he hasn’t exactly looked like a one-and-done type of prospect, it’s no secret that he dealt with a heart issue over the summer and is still in the process of working his way all the way back. And with the G League and two-way contracts now prominent in the NBA, he and the James family may decide that one year at USC is enough and he would like to pursue a career in the NBA.
According to a recent mock draft on ESPN by Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo though, Bronny is not projected to get drafted this year:
A month into his college career, James is still finding his footing at USC, having some strong offensive performances (15 points in 20 minutes at Oregon State) and some lackluster ones (two points vs. Stanford, zero points vs. Washington State), as he is not the type of player who will consistently carry a team with his scoring. He’s been excellent defensively, though, locking up in one-on-ones with his quick feet and strong frame, and flying around off the ball generating turnovers in bunches. Mostly a spot-up shooter and transition finisher, James has plenty of room to grow as a ball handler to become more of a true combo guard than an undersized 3-and-D wing like he currently appears. Finding another notch with his aggressiveness and scoring proficiency would make James a more clear-cut candidate for this year’s draft, and it’s not clear what his outlook will be if he doesn’t break out in the coming months. — Givony
If Bronny does indeed declare for the draft and doesn’t get picked, that could have some serious implications on LeBron and his future with the Lakers.
James has a player option with the Lakers for next season at around $50 million. He could either opt in to that and remain with the team for another year, or he can decline and test free agency, perhaps going to whatever team drafts Bronny.
The Lakers currently only the Clippers’ second round pick in 2024, which is projected to land at the end of the draft. Perhaps they use that pick on Bronny as a way of getting LeBron to stay in L.A.
If not and Bronny goes undrafted though, then he is free to sign with any team of his choosing as a free agent. That would give the Lakers another opportunity to bring in the eldest James son in hopes of getting his dad to play a seventh season with the team.
The bottom line is that if Bronny does indeed go undrafted, then that makes the pathway for LeBron playing with him a lot easier, whether that be them both signing elsewhere or them both staying with the Lakers.
As the college and NBA seasons continue to press on, this will be something worth monitoring leading up to the draft in June.
LeBron James not willing to talk about future with Lakers
It’s no secret that this season hasn’t gone as planned for LeBron James and the Lakers with the team hovering around .500 for a majority of the year.
With that being the case, LeBron recently declined to talk about his future with the team beyond this season, only adding more fuel to the speculation that he might depart in the offseason to finish his career elsewhere.