Rich Paul: Bronny James' '24 draft call based on team interest

ByAdrian Wojnarowski ESPN logo
Sunday, March 3, 2024

USCfreshman guard Bronny James is expected to weigh his entry into the 2024 NBA draft based on specific team interest, not draft position, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul told ESPN on Saturday.

"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," the agent for James' father,LeBron James,told ESPN on Saturday.

What's more, Paul said, the right team doesn't necessarily equate to Bronny James landing on a roster with his father -- although LeBron James would be "head over heels excited if that were to happen organically," Paul added.

"LeBron wants Bronny to be his own man," Paul told ESPN.

After suffering a cardiac arrest in a July workout at USC, Bronny James was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect that sidelined him for nearly five months. He was cleared to resume his career, made his USC debut Dec. 11 and has averaged 5.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists in nearly 20 minutes per game.

Before the serious heart episode and long layoff, James had been expected to be a major contributor for the Trojans this season. Out of Sierra Canyon High School, ESPN draft analyst Jonathan Givony had James ranked in the top 15 of the 2024 NBA draft class.

Because of his heart condition, James will have to be evaluated and approved by the NBA Fitness to Play Panel.

The 2025 NBA draft class is considered much stronger than the 2024 class, which also could be part of the James' calculus on the proper timing to enter the draft.

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