Rick Carlisle offers Bronny James take that may indicate Lakers draft plans

Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle was asked about potentially drafting Bronny James. His response may have tipped the hand the Los Angeles Lakers are holding.
Indiana Pacers v Boston Celtics - Game One
Indiana Pacers v Boston Celtics - Game One / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

Until the 2024 NBA Draft has officially concluded, all eyes will be on Bronny James and the Los Angeles Lakers. James, a four-star recruit coming out of high school and the son of Lakers superstar LeBron James, has been linked to the Lakers since long before he was draft-eligible.

The Lakers will have two opportunities to select James, with the No. 17 and No. 55 overall selections in their possession, but no one is entirely sure if Rob Pelinka will pull the trigger.

In an appearance on Green Light with Chris Long, Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle was asked if he intends to select James with one of his team's two second-round draft picks. At No. 49 and No. 50, the Pacers will have back-to-back selections before the Lakers come up at No. 55.

Carlisle's response to the question may shed light on what he's heard about the Lakers' intention to select James at the 2024 NBA Draft.

For those who can't access the video, Carlisle said the following:

"Well, I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict that he goes quite a bit higher than that. I'm not going to say who. I've been fined enough this year during the playoffs."

It's possible that his comments are entirely tongue-in-cheek, but given how closely linked the Lakers have been to James, it's certainly an intriguing choice of words on Carlisle's part.

James is an intriguing prospect who did wonders for himself at the 2024 NBA Draft Combine. He shot well during drills and offset his surprising height measurement of 6'1.5" without shoes by checking in with a 6'7.25" wingspan and a 40.5" max vertical leap.

An explosive athlete who has made it clear that he wants his brand to be defense at the next level, James is an interesting prospect who multiple teams will likely consider.

The questions surrounding James primarily pertain to his difficult freshman season with the USC Trojans. James went into cardiac arrest just before the start of the 2023-24 college basketball season, thankfully surviving the life-threatening experience.

Back on the court, he understandably struggled to find his form after missing eight games and several months of practice.

Despite his struggles, James has earned interest as a potential 3-and-D specialist in the NBA. He's been linked to the Lakers at No. 17 overall, but Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports that it's more likely that the Lakers will target him in the second round.

With conflicting statements seemingly coming from Carlisle and Wojnarowski,, the No. 17 overall selection is once again in question.