Rich Paul drops truth bomb on LeBron’s intentions to play with Bronny this upcoming season

Jesse Cinquini
4 Min Read
Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

Recent words from agent Rich Paul suggest that LeBron James is no longer very focused on teaming up with his son Bronny in the NBA.

“LeBron is off this idea of having to play with Bronny,” Paul told ESPN. “If he does, he does. But if he doesn’t, he doesn’t. There’s no deal made that it’s guaranteed that if the Lakers draft Bronny at 55, he will re-sign. If that was the case, I would force them to take him at 17. We don’t need leverage. The Lakers can draft Bronny and LeBron doesn’t re-sign. LeBron is also not going to Phoenix for a minimum deal. We can squash that now.”

That contradicts a report from sources of ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith that indicated the elder James wants the Lakers to draft the younger James as well as bring on J.J. Redick to be the storied franchise’s head coach.

“Let me tell you what else I’ve been hearing,” Smith said. “LeBron James is trying to get the Los Angeles Lakers to draft Bronny James with (their) second-round pick. He’d also like for J.J. Redick to be his next head coach. I’m just telling you what I’ve heard.”

Additionally, Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus reported earlier this month that the Lakers are widely expected to draft the younger James in the upcoming 2024 NBA Draft.

“The Lakers are widely expected to draft Bronny either with one of their own two picks (Nos. 17 or 55) or by trading up in the second round,” Pincus wrote.

Fans of the Lakers won’t have to wait much longer to see where the younger James lands in the draft and if he will end up in Los Angeles, as the event will kick off on June 26, exactly one week from Wednesday.

The younger James played just one season of college basketball prior to declaring for the 2024 NBA Draft. Across 25 games played with the University of Southern California during the 2023-24 season, the 19-year-old averaged 4.8 points per game on 36.6 percent shooting from the field and 26.7 percent from 3-point range as well as 2.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 0.8 steals per contest.

With the younger James being a consistent face in the Trojans’ rotation, the team ended up with a 15-18 record, which marked the program’s fewest wins in a single season since the 2014-15 campaign when Andy Enfield was in just his second season as the head coach of the Trojans.

The younger James’ final game as a Trojan came against the University of Arizona back on March 14, when he dropped just three points on 1-of-5 shooting from deep in a game the team lost by 21 points.

While the younger James’ NBA career has yet to begin, the elder James is seemingly on the tail end of his pro career. At 39 years old, he is currently the oldest player in the league.

On top of that, he has 21 seasons of NBA basketball under his belt with three teams. But despite all of the mileage on him, the elder James was still one of the NBA’s best players during the 2023-24 season, as he averaged 25.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game during the regular season.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer covering the Lakers’ dreaded rivals, the Boston Celtics, for SB Nation. He has also covered the New York Knicks for The Knicks Wall.