Lakers’ LeBron James may still team up with Bronny James despite Rich Paul push back

Tony Nguyen | Los Angeles Lakers
May 15, 2024

The son of Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James, Bronny James, is getting set to make the NBA jump next season, as he has entered the 2024 NBA Draft. The question is, does the team that drafts Bronny James have the inside track to landing LeBron in free agency?

LeBron’s agent, Rich Paul, says this is not the case, via ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.

Paul says that Klutch Sports will be trying to get Bronny to a club where he can worry about his own career without being overshadowed by his father, Windhorst said during a recent appearance on The Pat McAfee Show.

However, it seems rather naive to think that a team having Bronny on its roster wouldn’t at least improve its chance of landing LeBron somewhat. That’s why the Los Angeles Lakers are rumored to be interested in Bronny, as it may prevent LeBron from departing via free agency.

“I believe firmly he’s going to end up back with the Lakers, and the Lakers are going to give him a contract he wants,” Windhorst said. “They’re going to try to make a trade to improve the roster and they might even draft Bronny, but we know LeBron wants to play with him.”

Bronny averaged just 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game while shooting 36.6 percent from the floor at USC this past season, so it’s not like the Lakers—or any team, for that matter—would be drafting him for what he achieved in college (although his performance at the Scouting Combine has certainly raised some eyebrows).

Perhaps there will be some front offices that like Bronny’s potential, especially considering that his father is an all-time great. But realistically speaking, the primary reason why any club would want to select Bronny James would be to entice LeBron into signing with them this summer.

LeBron James probably won’t leave the Lakers

West guard Bronny James (6) with father LeBron James following the McDonald's All American Boy's high school basketball game at Toyota Center.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It just seems hard to imagine LeBron leaving the Lakers at this point.

He signed with Los Angeles during the summer of 2018, and at the time, it was viewed as more than a basketball move. James certainly has an interest in being in Hollywood, so it was also a decision that LeBron made with his future in mind.

Ultimately, James’ run in LA has not been incredibly successful from a basketball standpoint.

In six years, the Lakers have missed the playoffs twice and have been eliminated from the first round on two other occasions. The last two years, Los Angeles had to win a play-in game just to make the postseason.

Yes, Los Angeles won a championship in 2020, and while it obviously counts as an NBA title, there are some who question the legitimacy of it given that it happened during the pandemic-shortened season within the “bubble” in Orlando.

Adding a ring to his legacy is definitely huge, but overall, James’ stay in Los Angeles has been his least successful run of his NBA career.

So why would he stay in LA then?

Well, honestly, LeBron seems content. He had to know going into the situation that winning multiple championships with the Lakers would be tough. He is playing in the Western Conference, and the roster was below average when he arrived. Los Angeles was able to swing a trade for Anthony Davis, but other than that, LA has been unable to put a complementary cast of characters around James. It should also be noted that James is now 39 years old, and while he is still elite, there is no question he has declined, and his health has begun to fail him.

Still, James hasn’t really shown any indication that he is open to leaving the Lakers. Compare that to his final season with the Miami Heat in 2014 or in the last year of his second stint with the Cavaliers, where the writing was essentially on the wall.

James seems to have settled down. He has won four championships. His place in the annals of NBA history is set in stone. The chances of him winning two more titles and tying Michael Jordan seem slim to none, and he likely knows that.

Unless another incredible opportunity presents itself, LeBron will probably retire in LA, regardless of whether or not he gets to play with Bronny.