Bronny James draft update may guarantee LeBron James' fate with Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Lakers' current focus is getting hot in the second half of the season and winning the 18th championship in franchise history. Even with that focus as the main priority, there is a lingering decision that will be made this summer that will impact the future of the franchise.

LeBron James has a player option this offseason with speculation that he might be asking for a three-year extension that costs around $60 million per year. If the Lakers do not give LeBron what he wants then the NBA's all-time leading scorer may look to sign elsewhere.

Then there is the Bronny James dynamic of it all. LeBron has been very vocal about his dream to play with his son in the NBA and it was safe to assume that he would sign with whatever team drafts Bronny. If Bronny was a top prospect in the NBA Draft, and the Lakers didn't have the means to take him, then the team may not have had any chance at all to retain LeBron.

That being said, not being able to draft Bronny might not be an issue at all for the Lakers as Bronny might not even be in the 2024 NBA Draft. While nothing is official, Bronny has fallen out of ESPN's 2024 mock draft and is now being projected to be picked in 2025 by Jonathan Givony.

Bronny James update may guarantee LeBron James' return to Lakers

Bronny James should absolutely do what is best for his basketball career and staying another season at USC might be the answer. Bronny's freshman season was delayed by a cardiac arrest incident in July that, thankfully, did not take him away from the basketball court full-time.

In the time since Bronny has looked like a freshman in college and there is nothing wrong with that. He is already an above-average defensive player and could make an impact as a defensive guard in the NBA as early as next season. When it comes to scoring, though, Bronny is averaging just 5.5 points on 37.1% shooting per game. Staying another season as USC might be best for Bronny long-term.

And that might guarantee LeBron's return to the Lakers. If LeBron's goal is to play with Bronny then he is not going to go and sign a multi-year deal with another team when Bronny could land anywhere in 2025.

In fact, this could even lead LeBron to delay a potential contract extension with the Lakers. LeBron has a player option for the 2024-25 season and if playing with Bronny is the main goal then he could just accept that option and become a free agent in 2025. Or, at the very least, opt-out and negotiate a higher one-year salary from the Lakers.

Regardless, unless LeBron wants to go play for another contender for one season as a rental, chances are he will be returning to Los Angeles for at least one more season if Bronny is not coming into the league yet.

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