Bronny James' next team is painfully obvious (and it's not the Lakers)

USC v Arizona
USC v Arizona / David Becker/GettyImages

Even though he is not in the NBA yet, Bronny James and his future have been directly tied to the future of the Los Angeles Lakers. LeBron James has not been shy about wanting to play with his son, leaving many to believe that he would leave LA to join Bronny elsewhere if that is what it came to.

Prior to his collegiate career, it seemed inevitable that Bronny would declare for the 2024 NBA Draft and that he would be a first-round pick. However, that inevitability no longer exists and from a pure talent standpoint, Bronny is not projected to go in the first round.

However, because he might come alongside his dad there could be a team that drafts Bronny earlier than expected. That is what makes Bronny arguably the most compelling draft prospect in recent draft history.

Even though it no longer felt like an inevitability, Bronny officially declared for the 2024 NBA Draft on Friday. It is a tad misleading, though, because Bronny also entered the transfer portal if he wants to stick around in college. Since Bronny hasn't hired an agent, he has the ability to go into the draft, transfer to another school, or just stick with USC.

Bronny has essentially just opened up his options for the 2024-25 season, regardless of what level that is at. Through all of this smoke, though, there is still an extreme favorite for where he will play next season.

Bronny James' next team will be Duquesne, not the Lakers

Duquesne is not a powerhouse NCAA program and never would have seemed like an actual fit for Bronny a year ago. However, Duquesne's trip to the NCAA Tournament put a spotlight on the program, and now there are extremely strong ties between the program and the James family.

LeBron was publicly supporting Duquesne during its trip to the NCAA Tournament and literally broke the news that Dru Joyce was being hired as the program's new head coach.

Joyce was LeBron's teammate at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School and his father, Dru Joyce II, coached both LeBron and Joyce as their head coach in high school. Joyce II is still the head coach at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, so there is an obvious, deep tie to LeBron.

To deepen the ties even more, Joyce is taking over the job from Keith Dambrot, who coached LeBron during his first two years in high school.

Considering Duquesne already offered Bryce James a scholarship when he graduates high school next year, this could be a chance for the James family to bring prestige to a college program that has ties to the family. LeBron is all about changing the game, and if his sons want to do the same thing then they could both make this move.