MNO Sports >MMA Arena >Bronny James' agent says only Lakers, Suns have had workouts, drafting Bronny not linked to LeBron - NBC Sports

Bronny James' agent says only Lakers, Suns have had workouts, drafting Bronny not linked to LeBron - NBC Sports


2024 NBA Combine

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 14: Bronny James talks to the media during the 2024 NBA Combine on May 14, 2024 at Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2024 NBAE (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)

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Agent Rich Paul has been consistent throughout the process: He only wants Bronny James to have a full NBA contract and not a two-way deal, he cares more about fit than exactly which team Bronny is taken by, and there is no link between drafting Bronny and what LeBron James will do as a potential free agent.

Paul reiterated all those things in an interview with Jonathan Givony of ESPN, but adding a couple of new tidbits.

First, Bronny has only worked out for the Lakers and Suns, and that’s by design. Other teams have wanted to work out Bronny — Paul mentions Dallas, Minnesota, and Toronto — but Paul says he is focused on fit.

“I got the word out early to teams that if you plan on bringing Bronny in, here’s what you need to know: If you won’t give him a real deal, there’s nothing to talk about. It’s hard to get real development on a two-way deal. I don’t care about him going to the Lakers, or Phoenix, or about what number he gets picked. It’s about fit...

“There are other teams that love Bronny. For example, Minnesota, Dallas, Toronto. If it’s not the Lakers, it will be someone else. Minnesota would love to get Bronny in, but I don’t know who their owner is going to be. [Mavs GM] Nico Harrison is like an uncle to Bronny. If the Lakers don’t take him at 55, Dallas would take him at 58 and give him a guaranteed deal. Masai [Ujiri, Raptors president,] loves him. They could take him without even seeing him at 31. Workouts aren’t everything for these teams.”

The other thing Paul said was not new so much as an emphatic reassertion that Bronny and LeBron are not linked in this process. Drafting Bronny is not a path to LeBron. To be specific, the second-apron Suns can only offer a veteran minimum to free agents, but some Suns fans online (or, maybe just trolls desperate for engagement) seemed to think if Phoenix drafted Bronny then LeBron would opt out of his $51.4 million contract with the Lakers to play for the minimum with the Suns.

“LeBron is off this idea of having to play with Bronny,” Paul told ESPN. “If he does, he does. But if he doesn’t, he doesn’t. There’s no deal made that it’s guaranteed that if the Lakers draft Bronny at 55, he [LeBron] will re-sign. If that was the case, I would force them to take him at 17. We don’t need leverage. The Lakers can draft Bronny and LeBron doesn’t re-sign. LeBron is also not going to Phoenix for a minimum deal. We can squash that now.”

The Suns only pick is No. 22 of the first round and that would be early to take Bronny, especially for a veteran-heavy, win-now team that should be looking for an older player who has already developed and can come in and contribute next season. The Lakers are not going to take Bronny at No. 17 (a pick they are actively trying to trade), but it feels like his floor is Los Angeles at No. 55. It’s also not that hard to acquire second round picks, if the Suns, Lakers or another team wanted to buy or trade for a pick in the 40s to use on Bronny, the price would not be that steep.

There will be a lot of Bronny talk on the first night of the NBA Draft, but it’s unlikely he will hear his name called in the first round. The second night, the draft’s second round, will be more interesting than usual this season because of the Bronny drama.

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