Bronny James Turns Heads With Strategic NBA Decision: Report

Bronny James

Getty Images Bronny James during a March 13 win over the Washington Huskies.

Second verse, same as the first? Bronny James, son of the NBA‘s all-time leading scorer LeBron James, is declaring for the 2024 NBA Draft.

Shams Charania of The Athletic was first with reports on April 5.

James announced the move on his Instagram page (@bronny).

“I’ve had a year with some ups and downs, but all added to growth for me as a man, student, and athlete,” James wrote. “I’ve made the decision to enter the NBA Draft while maintaining my college eligibility, and will also be entering the NCAA transfer portal.”

He also made sure to thank USC and the Trojan fans for the 2023-2024 season.

“Thank you to USC for an amazing Freshman year,” he wrote. “And as always thankful for my family, friends, doctors, athletic trainers, and fans for their support.”

James averaged 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists for a USC Trojans team that finished with the fourth-worst record in the Pac-12.

His decision to enter the portal came before his choice to enter the draft, after USC head coach Andy Enfield departed for the SMU job on April 1.

But as opposed to his father, Bronny faces a steep mountain climb to secure an NBA future.

Especially if he wants that future to start in 2024.

Bronny James’s Draft Stock

Coming out of high school, ESPN draft analyst Jonathan Givony had Bronny as a top-10 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft.

In October, Evan Tomes of NBADraft.Net wrote a profile on James, saying he “has handled the publicity and having his every move examined under a microscope incredibly well, especially considering how long he’s been in the limelight. Stayed poised while always having a target on his back by opposing teams … Likely not a top option, but potentially a piece/rotational player to a winning team.”

Not a top option has proved the top narrative for James, following a quiet freshman season.

All of the Ringer, The Athletic, or ESPN’s most recent mock drafts have him going undrafted, not selected with any pick in June.

One NBA executive told ESPN’s Jeremy Woo that their recommendation was that Bronny return to college.

He published a series of anonymous conversations with league executives following the news of James’ decision to declare in an ESPN column on April 5.

“I don’t know if he’s going to come back [to school]. We’d recommend he go back, just because this season didn’t get off on the right foot,” the anonymous executive told Woo. “He was behind due to the cardiac episode, being away from the team, the rehab, etc. So I think going back and continuing to fine-tune these skills [would help], because the offseason is when you really develop stuff.”

That could change in light of James’ decision to enter the draft, but another year might be his best bet at laying a foundation for a successful professional career.

Proving he’s healthy enough to play will be on his priority list this Spring regardless.

James’ Health a Major Concern

Given the ongoing narrative about LeBron wanting to play with Bronny, it’s likely some team (rather, multiple) will take a swing on his son to bait the Lakers forward, who’s a free agent this summer.

But first and foremost, teams are going to want to see that his son, who suffered a cardiac arrest episode back in July. James had a successful procedure done thereafter to treat his congenital heart defect.

He made his Trojans debut on December 10 against Long Beach State and faced no issues through the end of the season.

Whether it’s the NBA or NCAA, trust that Bronny is trusting one of the basketball world’s greatest businessmen throughout this process, his father, LeBron.

His strategy in declaring for the draft and maintaining eligibility displays a willingness to keep all doors open.