Prominent team may be angling to swipe Bronny James from Lakers (and LeBron, too)

A prominent team may have positioned itself to steal both Bronny James and LeBron James from the Los Angeles Lakers on the second day of the 2024 NBA Draft.
USC v California
USC v California / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Lakers will enter the second round of the 2024 NBA Draft with the outside expectation of selecting Bronny James at No. 55 overall. Some believe it's an attempt to placate LeBron James, while others see the value that the younger James can bring to the team.

As a monumental decision awaits general manager Rob Pelinka and the Lakers in the second round, it appears as though another marquee franchise could be swooping in to steal their thunder.

The New York Knicks continued a trade-heavy summer by moving back from No. 24 overall at the 2024 NBA Draft. It was a complicated process that ultimately saw the Knicks acquire the No. 51 overall selection.

NBA analyst Tom Haberstroh of The Finder (h/t Royce Webb) can't help but wonder what many of us are: Did the Knicks acquire a pick four spots before the Lakers to open the door to draft James?

"I’m not saying the New York Knicks are going to take Bronny James at No. 51. But if I’m being honest, that’s the first thing I thought of when the Knicks traded back and quietly acquired the Wizards’ 51st pick, four spots ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers’ slot at No. 55."

Haberstroh continued:

"Put it this way: if the Knicks take Bronny, I think there’s a high likelihood that LeBron decides to take his talents to MSG. I don’t see the King passing up the chance to play with his son, especially if it’s in New York. Now, will the Knicks comply?"

It's an arguably wild theory, but it's one that's grounded in a 39-year-old James potentially viewing the Knicks as a team with which he can win a fifth championship.

New York made the first major splash of the 2024 offseason by acquiring Mikal Bridges from the Brooklyn Nets. It then re-signed OG Anunoby, thus building what may very well be the best perimeter defense in the NBA with Donte DiVincenzo and Josh Hart also in the mix.

With All-NBA players Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle already guiding New York to 50-win success, James could realistically join the Knicks in an effort to win a championship in his age-40 season.

The logistics of the move are where things get complicated, as the Knicks and Lakers are both greatly limited in their financial resources. A sign-and-trade could be possible, however, and it would likely be centered around All-NBA power forward Randle and his $28,939,680 cap hit.

The Lakers would then proceed with Randle and Anthony Davis anchoring a star-studded interior, with the likes of Rui Hachimura, Dalton Knecht, and Austin Reaves leading the perimeter.

For as intriguing as this all may be, however, there's still reason to pump the brakes. James to the Knicks makes sense given his proclivity for playing in major markets that can help him build his brand even further, and New York may be the best potential destination for him.

In saying that, James' agent, Rich Paul, told Jonathan Givony of ESPN that his client won't sign with a team just because his son is drafted by them. He also won't accept the minimum to do so, meaning salary-matching would be essential.

It was a speculative comment by Haberstroh, but in an offseason that's already off to a chaotic start, it's worth exploring every possibility. James to the Knicks is among them, even if the logistics struggle to align.