Possibility of LeBron, Bronny pairing much clearer after in-depth update

Many have speculated that the Los Angeles Lakers will unite Bronny James and LeBron James at the 2024 NBA Draft. Rich Paul has addressed that possibility.
USC v Arizona
USC v Arizona / David Becker/GettyImages

The 2024 NBA Draft will provide the Los Angeles Lakers with an opportunity to acquire a low-cost, high-upside player at a time of genuine need. With limited financial flexibility and a roster that requires an upgrade, the Lakers must make the most of the annual selection process.

One player whom the Lakers have been commonly linked to is former USC Trojans guard Bronny James.

James has been mentioned as a potential Lakers draft target since he was in high school. The connection is clear, as James' father, four-time NBA MVP LeBron James, has been the franchise player for Los Angeles since he signed with the organization in 2018.

The opportunity to pair father and son is not only a marketing dream for the organization, but would certainly appease one of its most valued individuals.

For as interesting of a possibility as that may be, Bronny James has spoken candidly about his priorities as a player. While playing alongside his father is something that he would enjoy, he's more focused on simply getting drafted than where he may end up—and it appears as though he could have a long list of options.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, James is garnering interest from multiple organizations, but only a select few will get to see him work out.

The Lakers being on the list of teams that has scheduled a workout with James is hardly a surprise, but it shouldn't be viewed as a guarantee of a potential outcome.

Bronny James will workout with the Lakers, but he may not be drafted by them

For one, the Lakers may not have a draft pick until No. 55 overall. Los Angeles could end up in possession of pick No. 17, but the rights are currently owned by the New Orleans Pelicans as a result of the Anthony Davis trade.

In the event that the Pelicans defer the rights to the 2025 NBA Draft, there's still no guaranteeing that the Lakers would select James in the first round.

That's influenced in no small part by the fact that Los Angeles is a team that will likely rely on trades to acquire talent this offseason. General manager Rob Pelinka is reportedly looking into the possibility of utilizing the No. 17 overall selection as a tool in potentially acquiring an established player.

Even still, the speculation that Bronny and LeBron James could become teammates will persist until the 2024 NBA Draft has concluded.

That was addressed head-on when Bronny James' Agent, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, spoke with Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report:

"Well, LeBron said he wanted to play with his son. Bronny can't do anything about that. And that's nothing we should push back on. If he wants to play with his son, that's that. But again, I have a job to do representing Bronny and LeBron.

LeBron's season's over. I'm focused on Bronny and the rest of our draft class. If it aligns where he can play with his dad, great. Am I necessarily focused on that? No, not at all. I'm focused on a team plan investment and a seriousness as it pertains to fit and opportunity.

We know that there's gonna be some development necessary, but what does that actually look like? The teams I've talked to know exactly where I stand. I'm not going to bullshit around in this process. We're going to execute our plan."

Rich Paul, Klutch Sports CEO

That does not necessarily mean that the Lakers are out of the equation, but the priority is getting James drafted—not to point him in the direction of one single organization.

James, 19, was listed as the 28th-ranked prospect in the 2023 high school recruiting class by 247Sports. He received even stronger praise from ESPN, which had him as the No. 20 overall recruit in the class of 2023.

Unfortunately, James' freshman season at USC would be undeniably impacted by the fact that he went into cardiac arrest mere months before the college basketball season began.

James' return to the court ultimately proved divisive, as he struggled to provide the production that many expected of him. A life-threatening event is tough to quantify in terms of its impact, however, and NBA franchises seem aware of the need for context.

With the number of franchises interested in watching James work out entering the double-figures, the prioritization of fit over family ties is more evident than ever before.