Rich Paul: LeBron James is not signing with Suns on a veteran’s minimum contract

Jun 19, 2024, 11:21 AM

LeBron James and Bronny James...

LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers shouts to his son, Bronny James #6 of the USC Trojans, during Bronny's game against the California Golden Bears at Haas Pavilion on February 07, 2024 in Berkeley, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Agent Rich Paul told ESPN’s Jonathan Givony that the NBA Draft results for Bronny James will not impact his father LeBron James’ decision of what to do regarding a player option on his contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. Paul also poured cold water on the fantasy that the Phoenix Suns could draft Bronny to entice LeBron to sign with them as a free agent.

“LeBron is off this idea of having to play with Bronny,” Paul told ESPN on Wednesday. “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 resign. LeBron is also not going to Phoenix for a minimum deal. We can squash that now.”

The elder James has a $51.4 million player option to return to the Lakers. Forgoing that would allow him to enter free agency.

The Suns could not offer a free agent of James’ stature more than a veteran’s minimum contract that would in the $3-4 million range.

Paul shot down the narrative that he is treating Bronny James differently than past clients. He explained to Givony that he has kept James’ workouts limited to Los Angeles and Phoenix, as he has with past clients of all draft profiles. James is expected to work out with Phoenix a second time this week.

The Lakers hold the No. 17 pick, while the Suns sit at No. 22.

Paul does not want James, who is regarded as a late second-round pick and developmental prospect, to sign a two-way deal. The agent has said he will circle back with teams deemed as the right fit with James as an undrafted free agent if it comes down to that.

James is unlikely to work out for another team before the draft but added there are plenty of other interested teams he would be comfortable sending his client to.

Paul listed the Minnesota Timberwolves, Dallas Mavericks and Toronto Raptors as teams interested in James, in addition to Phoenix and Los Angeles.

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