Former NBA executive and current ESPN analyst Bobby Marks doesn’t believe that teams will target University of Southern California guard Bronny James in the 2024 NBA Draft just so they can acquire his father LeBron.
The elder James, who has a player option on his contract for the 2024-25 season, could opt out of his deal with the Los Angeles Lakers to sign with the team that drafts the younger James in the 2024 NBA Draft. He has expressed a lot of interest in getting to play alongside his son.
There’s no guarantee that the younger James gets drafted at this point, as he made his collegiate debut on Sunday after missing the start of the season because of a heart issue.
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“It’s hard for me to see that,” Marks said when asked if a team would draft the younger James to lure the four-time NBA champion to their franchise. “Especially if it’s teams picking up in the top 10. If you look at a team, for example Charlotte, would they pick Bronny James, who maybe some people project late first-round, early-second round with the eighth pick in the draft just for the belief that they can get LeBron James in their building?
“Teams don’t operate that way. They operate how their board dictates it.”
Marks also discussed the Lakers’ chances of taking James. The New Orleans Pelicans own the Lakers’ pick this season, but they could defer it, which would leave the pick with Los Angeles.
“What happens with that Laker first?” Marks said. “Remember, New Orleans has the Lakers’ first, but can defer till 2025 here. So, if that pick is at 23 or 24, and the Lakers have that, would they take Bronny James to pair up with his dad? But – certainly for those teams up in the lottery – it’s hard for me to see a team picking him just for the lore of getting LeBron there with him.”
The younger James made his season debut on Sunday against California State University, Long Beach (better known as Long Beach State). The freshman guard has been sidelined after going into cardiac arrest during a workout in July, but he played well against Long Beach State.
The USC guard finished with four points, three rebounds, two assists, one block and two steals in 17 minutes for the Trojans.
While the younger James is projected as a late first-round pick right now, he could improve his draft stock if he plays well the rest of the 2023-24 season.
Lakers fans are certainly hoping that the team can draft the son of the NBA’s all-time leading scorer to keep them both in Los Angeles for as long as the elder James wants to play.