ESPN Insider Links Lakers to Bronny James After Positive NBA Draft News

Brian Windhorst discussed the possibility of Bronny going to Los Angeles in June's NBA Draft.
Bronny James
Bronny James / James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
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Monday brought positive news for Bronny James' NBA draft status. Reports emerged that James had been medically cleared by the NBA ahead of the draft combine.

The son of LeBron James, the former USC guard underwent a procedure to repair a congenital heart defect nine months ago after going into cardiac arrest during a workout. It is now official that the issue will not impact James' ability to play in the NBA and he's expected to go through with the draft process.

This means attention officially shifts to which teams might select James. Once considered a potential lottery pick, James' sole season at USC was underwhelming for many and now the guard is widely seen as a second-round talent. ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst appeared on Get Up in the wake of James' positive medical update and said, if they have the opportunity, the Los Angeles Lakers will take LeBron's son.

As noted by Windhorst the Lakers have the 55th pick in the 2024 draft. They also may have a first round pick depending on if the New Orleans Pelicans choose to take their 2025 first rounder instead of this year's, but regardless it doesn't seem likely James goes that early at this stage.

Which certainly could change, but the book appears out on James. He is a great athlete and boasted strong potential as a point-of-attack defender, but he shot 36.6% from the floor while averaging 4.8 points per game in 25 appearances for the Trojans. There are many players expected to go in James' range with better predraft production, more obvious potential, or some combination of the two.

There is always the possibility that an enterprising franchise selects James with the hope of luring LeBron in free agency. The elder James is expected to opt out of his contract with the Lakers ahead of free agency. From all indications he is doing so with the intention of re-signing with the Lakers, and Windhorst mentions above that his agent Rich Paul has been working on dissuading teams of the notion that drafting Bronny means getting LeBron. But it will be a storyline heading into the draft no matter how much work Paul puts in.

Plus, despite all indications, James isn't technically locked into going pro yet. The deadline to withdraw from the draft is May 29, and if he goes undrafted, he is permitted to return to school should he choose. James entered the transfer portal after USC's season ended so where he would even go is in question but the option is there if things don't go as James expects.

A lot of possibilities as the June 26 draft date approaches.


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Liam McKeone

LIAM MCKEONE

Liam McKeone is a senior writer for the Breaking and Trending News team at Sports Illustrated. He has been in the industry as a content creator since 2017, and prior to joining SI in May 2024, McKeone worked for NBC Sports Boston and The Big Lead. In addition to his work as a writer, he has hosted the Press Pass Podcast covering sports media and The Big Stream covering pop culture. A graduate of Fordham University, he is always up for a good debate and enjoys loudly arguing about sports, rap music, books and video games. McKeone has been a member of the National Sports Media Association since 2020.