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Bronny James officially staying in NBA Draft after weighing college return, negative talk from scouts: agent


When Bronny James declared for the NBA Draft earlier this month, he simultaneously entered the transfer portal, keeping just about every option open.

After the son of the NBA’s all-time leading scorer attended the NBA Scouting Combine, he didn’t get much love from scouts.

However, ahead of Wednesday’s deadline to opt out of the draft, the duo’s agent, Rich Paul, said James will forgo the remainder of his college eligibility.

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Bronny James vs UCLA

USC Trojans guard Bronny James (6) during a college basketball game against the UCLA Bruins on February 24, 2024 at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, CA.  (Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“He’s staying in the draft,” Paul told ESPN.

James was a McDonald’s All-American last summer but, a couple months later, he suffered a cardiac arrest during a workout.

In his return to basketball, he averaged less than five points per game in his lone season at USC.

One scout said James is “not an NBA prospect,” and another wrote that if his father’s Los Angeles Lakers don’t draft him, it would be a surprise if anyone did.

However, according to The Athletic, “over 10” teams invited Bronny to work out for them ahead of the draft — yet he’s turned down all but two of them: the Lakers and Phoenix Suns.

Bronny James shoots

Bronny James shoots a free throw during the 2024 NBA basketball Draft Combine in Chicago, Tuesday, May 14, 2024.  (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

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Phoenix is “considering” Bronny with the 22nd pick — the Lakers own the 17th selection.

The Lakers are reportedly considering taking James in the draft in order to keep his father around. James has a player option in which his deadline is two days after the draft.

James has long spoken of his desire to play with his son, but new reports say his main focus is developing his son, rather than playing with him.

However, his agent, Rich Paul, did say James is a “free agent” late last week. It may have been a Freudian slip, but it was telling.

Bronny James and LeBron James handshake on stage

Bronny James and Bryce James present the LeBron James with the Best Record-Breaking Performance award onstage during The 2023 ESPY Awards at Dolby Theatre on July 12, 2023 in Hollywood, California. (Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)

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“We’re gonna evaluate the situation,” he added, “and we’re gonna make the best decision.”

If James opts out (he’s set to earn over $51 million), he could be eligible to sign a three-year, $161.9 million deal with Los Angeles.

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