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Kobe Bryant’s Former Teammate Wants Lakers to Draft LeBron James’ Son In Order to Keep ‘Pops’ Happy

Jay Mahesh Lokegaonkar

Kobe Bryant's Former Teammate Wants Lakers to Draft LeBron James' Son In Order to Keep 'Pops' Happy

Last week, LeBron James‘ son and USC guard Bronny James entered the NCAA transfer portal and surprisingly declared for the 2024 NBA draft. Bronny had an underwhelming freshman season with the USC Trojans, averaging only 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists off the bench. The young guard’s unimpressive debut season in college can be attributed to the cardiac arrest he suffered in July 2023, which foiled his preparations for his debut season in college.

Bronny was widely expected to stay another year or two at USC before declaring for the draft, but the guard has other plans. His numbers suggest he’d likely go undrafted, but former Los Angeles Lakers star Lou Williams believes the team will take a punt and pick the USC guard. On the Run It Back podcast, the former Kobe Bryant’s teammate said,

“It’s low-risk versus high-reward, right? You know Bronny is two or three years out of [being] somebody who can give you the opportunity to win basketball games and become a young talent in this league. If you can get Bronny in the late first round, early second round with a draft pick, and have an opportunity to keep his Pops happy, have an opportunity for him to be in a system where he’s not needed right away—I think this works out.”

Williams added that the 2024 draft class is lackluster and the Lakers won’t miss out on premier talent if they spend a pick on Bronny. Drafting the USC guard would be a great bargaining chip for LA in their quest to keep LeBron James.

The four-time MVP, who’s set to opt out of the final year of his current contract and become a free agent in the 2024 offseason, has been open about his aspiration to play alongside his eldest son. Landing Bronny would ensure James extends his stay with the Lakers and spends the final years of his career with the franchise.

Skip Bayless expects Bronny James to be drafted

In addition to declaring for the draft, Bronny James has also entered the NCAA transfer portal, suggesting that he’d leave the USC Trojans if he goes undrafted. While the consensus is that he needs to spend another season or two in college, Skip Bayless believes it would do little to boost his draft stock. On last Friday’s episode of Undisputed, he explained,

“[Bronny James] doesn’t have a scoring skillset where he’d go somewhere and average 20 a game… I believe  he’s ready for the NBA right now because he’s a very unique player. It’s almost like he was born to compliment his father because he can play defense at the NBA level because he’s got physicality to him, he’s got high IQ thanks to his father and he knows how to play basketball.”

Bayless added that Bronny’s heart condition and USC’s chaotic campaign were responsible for the guard’s underwhelming numbers. He claimed that LeBron would utilize his son’s skillset better than the Trojans and groom him into a solid NBA player. The analyst’s suggestions sound wishful thinking, but he’s correct in pointing out that pairing him with LeBron is likely the best-case scenario for his development as a player.

About the author

Jay Mahesh Lokegaonkar

Jay Mahesh Lokegaonkar


Jay Lokegaonkar is a basketball journalist who has been following the sports as a fan 2005. He has worked in a slew of roles covering the NBA, including writer, editor, content manager, social media manager, and head of content since 2018. However, his primary passion is writing about the NBA. Especially throwback stories about the league's iconic players and franchises. Revisiting incredible tales and bringing scarcely believable stories to readers are one his main interests as a writer.

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