LeBron James’ NBA Combine sighting sparks Bronny to Lakers rumors

Tony Nguyen | Los Angeles Lakers
May 16, 2024

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James was spotted at the NBA Draft Combine with general manager Rob Pelinka on Wednesday, which has sparked even more rumors about the possibility of the Lakers selecting Bronny James in the draft.

The Lakers own the 17th overall pick in the NBA Draft next month. They also have the 55th pick in the second round.

James can opt out of his contract and become a free agent this summer, which has increased speculation that the Lakers could potentially select his son, Bronny, in order to entice LeBron to re-sign with Los Angeles.

Is Bronny worth a first-round pick? From a production standpoint, probably not.

In one season at USC, Bronny averaged 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists over 19.3 minutes per game while shooting 36.6 percent from the floor, 26.7 percent from three-point range and 67.6 percent from the free-throw line.

Any team that would be drafting Bronny would likely be picking him to try and sway LeBron to join them, particularly if the team takes Bronny in the first round. While he may be the son of one of the greatest professional athletes ever, it’s pretty clear that he isn’t a first-round caliber talent. At least right now.

However, the Lakers (or some other club) may end up pulling the trigger on him to sweeten the pot for LeBron.

Would LeBron James really leave the Lakers regardless?

Southern California Trojans guard Bronny James (6) is greeted by father LeBron James during the game against the Washington State Cougars at Galen Center.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

At this point, it seems hard to fathom LeBron leaving the Lakers regardless of what they do in the NBA Draft this June.

James is 39 years old and will turn 40 next season. He doesn’t have a lot of years left, even though he is still capable of playing the game at an elite level. He has openly discussed retirement, and with LeBron already having four championships, the all-time NBA scoring title and countless other accolades under his belt, there isn’t much left for him to prove.

Of course, the biggest thing still left for James to achieve is tying (or passing) Michael Jordan in championships, but he would need to win two more just to draw even with Jordan. The chances of that happening at this juncture seem very slim.

Obviously, James can ring chase. He can join an already loaded roster and try to represent the final piece to put the team over the top. But would LeBron do that at this stage? He seems very comfortable in LA, and when he signed with the Lakers in 2018, it was more than just a basketball decision. It was a business and a lifestyle decision, as well.

Perhaps James would want to make one more run at a title elsewhere. Or, maybe he will remain in Tinseltown and make another run at a championship there. The Lakers will almost surely be in trade talks for star players this offseason (Trae Young is considered a prime candidate), so it’s possible that the front office can still put another big name alongside James and Anthony Davis.

Anyway, Los Angeles may end up drafting Bronny as a means to keep LeBron around. It would also be a nod to James to allow him to play with his son. But even if the Lakers choose to go in a different direction, it probably won’t drive LeBron away from Hollywood.