PHOENIX SUNS

ESPN: Bronny James stays in NBA Draft, agent determining which interested teams are ‘real’

May 29, 2024, 9:08 AM

Bronny James, USC Trojans guard...

Bronny James #6 of the USC Trojans dribbles the ball down court against the California Golden Bears in the first half at Haas Pavilion on February 07, 2024 in Berkeley, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Bronny James will remain in the 2024 NBA Draft with a deadline to return to college set for Wednesday at 8:59 p.m. MST, his agent and Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul told ESPN.

The USC Trojans prospect and son of Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is projected as a second-round pick. With a strong pre-draft process, there’s a chance he could fight for a first-round selection in a class that is expected to yield an unpredictable draft order.

Bronny James plans to set workouts with the Phoenix Suns and Lakers, as The Athletic’s Shams Charania has reported. Though James has received 10 or more workout offers, Paul explained to ESPN why he and his client are being selective about where the guard visits.

“Bronny’s [draft] range is wide,” Paul told ESPN. “He’s a really good prospect who has a lot of room for growth. It only takes one team. I don’t care where that team is — it can be No. 1 or 58 — [but] I do care about the plan, the development. The team’s strategy, the opportunity and the financial commitment.”

Paul added he will not work out a two-way deal for his client, though he is not opposed to navigating an undrafted signing if the right fit doesn’t appear in the two rounds of the draft that will take place from June 26-27.

Phoenix owns the No. 22 overall pick.

“We’re still figuring it out,” Paul told ESPN. “Many teams have called. It’s a matter of hashing out workouts and figuring out who is real and who is not. There are only two or three teams that might take him. That’s how I am going to approach that.”

Knowing Paul’s wariness about putting James in a poor position, the fact that Phoenix reportedly is greenlit to host the prospect says the Suns and their leadership are viewed positively by Paul, who notably is listed as the representative for Phoenix center Jusuf Nurkic.

Suns have a memorable history with agent Rich Paul

It’s been nearly seven years since one of Paul’s top clients, Eric Bledsoe, forced a trade from Phoenix that led to then-Suns general manager Ryan McDonough publically criticizing Paul.

“I was certainly surprised by it and disappointed by it,” McDonough told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo after a trade and Bledsoe’s infamous “I Dont wanna be here” tweet that the player later said was about hair salon. “I think Eric’s a good person and I think he’s unfortunately gotten some bad advice and is listening to the wrong people.”

Bledsoe’s tweet came three ugly losses into the season and just as head coach Earl Watson was fired.

Paul later distanced himself from that conflict, saying he had no ill will toward Phoenix.

“If you (are together) for so long but then you have one or two bad days, that’s how it goes. But at the end of the day, you try to do things with professionalism and integrity but at the same time, I, in the seat that I sit in, I always have to do what’s right for my player, and I felt like Eric needed a change,” Paul told ESPN’s The Hoop Collective podcast.

“Obviously, as we know, all teams, they’re going to do what’s best for the organization, and I get that. I have zero to say that would be in negative light about that. I wish them guys the best of luck.”

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ESPN: Bronny James stays in NBA Draft, agent determining which interested teams are ‘real’