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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Bronny James Declares for NBA Draft and Enters Transfer Portal

  • LeBron pumped the brakes on a report that Bronny was entering the portal days ago.
  • Bronny played in 24 games for USC as a freshman, mainly as a reserve.
James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Bronny James is exploring all of his options. 

The oldest son of Lakers star LeBron James is declaring for the NBA draft while retaining his college eligibility and entering the transfer portal. He announced the decision in an Instagram post Friday.

Bronny just finished his freshman year at Southern Cal in which he mostly played as a reserve after coming back from a cardiac arrest and subsequent heart surgery in the summer. Earlier this week, Trojans coach Andy Enfield left Los Angeles for Southern Methodist. On Thursday, the school hired Arkansas coach Eric Musselman to replace him. 

Despite averaging just 4.8 points per game at USC, James is one of college basketball’s most noteworthy players. A five-star recruit and McDonald’s All-American out of high school, James has appeared in multiple commercials and is one of the country’s top name, image, and likeness earners with estimates putting him over $5 million. 

His future has been of great interest to fans and media alike after his father said he hoped to play in the NBA with his son before retiring. On Tuesday, the elder James said a report that his son was entering the transfer portal was premature. According to ESPN, Bronny will be repped by Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, the same agent as his father. 

“I don’t value a young player getting into the lottery as much as I do getting him on the right team in the right developmental situation,” Paul told ESPN in March about Bronny’s draft prospects.

Should he continue to play college basketball, ESPN reported Friday Duquesne could be an option for the younger James. The Dukes are coached by Dru Joyce III, LeBron’s high school teammate and close friend. Joyce just took over for Keith Dambrot, who coached both James and Joyce their first two years of high school. Dambrot retired last month after leading the school to its first NCAA tournament since 1977, where the Dukes upset BYU in the first round.

In his first recruiting go-around, Bronny James also considered Ohio State and Oregon.

Should the younger James jump to the NBA, the draft would instantly be an enormous story because of the connection to his father, despite a relatively shallow pool in this year’s draft. Due to his heart condition, Bronny James would need to be cleared by the NBA’s Fitness to Play panel before he could participate in workouts or May’s draft combine or even be drafted. The NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement requires players to participate in the event and submit a physical for teams. 

The deadline to withdraw from the NBA draft is June 16.

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