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Here’s why the Lakers should just say no to Bronny

In Sports
May 30, 2024
Bronny James talks to media during the 2024 NBA draft combine in Chicago on Tuesday May 14

So now it’s official, Bronny James is entering next month’s NBA draft and I know what you’re thinking and …


So now it’s obvious, LeBron James’ oldest child has a chance to play with his father and, wow, wouldn’t that be …


So now it’s happening, the Lakers are going to pick Bronny so they can re-sign LeBron and …

No, no, no!

The Lakers should not draft Bronny James under any circumstances, with any pick, absolutely not, steer clear, take a pass, blow him off, take somebody else, anybody else.

Read more: Bronny James is ready to be himself, but the NBA still sees LeBron James Jr.

Adding Bronny James to the Lakers would be like lighting up a cigarette at the gas pump.

Their lack of self-restraint would result in an explosion.

It was confirmed to ESPN on Wednesday that Bronny, 19, officially is leaving college after one season at USC and turning pro.

Bronny wasn’t too impressive as a Trojan, averaging five points, three rebounds and two assists in 19 minutes per game after suffering a cardiac arrest episode the previous summer. However, he was one of the best players in the recent NBA draft combine and later shone for every team during a pro day at the Lakers practice facility.

Some experts are saying he could go in the first round. Others say he’s no greater than a second-round pick. Some still believe he’s not worthy of being drafted at all.

But most everyone agrees that the most predictable landing spot would be the Lakers.

USC guard Bronny James taps hands with his father, LeBron James, as he warms up before a game

Which predictably would be a disaster.

The Lakers have the 17th pick. It would be insanity to take him that high. The Lakers also have the 55th pick. It would be pandering to take him there.

Face it, they would be drafting Bronny only as incentive for LeBron to re-sign with them after he opts out of his contract this summer. That’s a terrible reason for talent acquisition, and forms a shaky foundation upon which the Bronny Experience would quickly crumble.

When your résumé reads only, “Nepotism,” you’re doomed from the start.

This is not to say that somebody shouldn’t draft Bronny. You can’t judge him from his season at USC because he was recovering from the heart issue. He apparently has a great basketball IQ and, even though he’s only 6 feet 2, his athleticism is enormous.

He easily could be a serviceable player and have a great experience in many places. He deserves, like all draftees, to play somewhere he can be himself and lay down his own footprints and be celebrated. He certainly could do this almost anywhere.

Read more: Bronny James not thinking of playing with his dad, he’d be happy getting to NBA

Anywhere but here.

If the Lakers draft him, first, they’re not being fair to Bronny. The pressure on him to perform in such close proximity to his father would be untenable.

It was bad enough when LeBron was sitting courtside at Galen Center. Can you imagine how Bronny would feel with his father sitting across from him in the locker room?

Can you ponder what it would be like to work in such close quarters with your famous father? And how would their teammates react? Would they ever fully trust Bronny? Could he ever truly be himself with his dad always watching?

The problems would only get worse when they move to the court. There would be unbelievably cool moments, like an ally-oop from son to father, or a cross-court assist from father to son, but they wouldn’t be enough to compensate for the constant heat on the shoulders of the kid.

Bronny would have to learn the pro game with his father hovering over every move, judging, advising, lecturing, maybe even occasionally scolding.

The Lakers' LeBron James watches USC play Long Beach State at the Galen Center in Los Angeles on Dec. 10.

The Lakers’ LeBron James watches USC play Long Beach State at the Galen Center in Los Angeles on Dec. 10. James’ son, Bronny, played for the Trojans. (Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times)

It would be one thing for Bronny to go two for 10 in Salt Lake City on a game LeBron can only watch on TV. It would be another thing for Bronny to struggle at Crypto.com Arena with LeBron breathing down his neck.

It wouldn’t be pretty. It’s already not pretty.

Bronny addressed the issue with reporters at the draft combine when he said, “Yeah, it’s a lot.”

He added, “My dream has always just been to put my name out, make a name for myself, and of course, you know, get to the NBA … I never thought about just playing with my dad, but of course he’s, he’s brought it up a couple times. But yeah, I don’t think about it.”

Read more: What NBA scouts have to say about Bronny James as a draft prospect

Perhaps the only people who would feel as much pressure as Bronny would be the Lakers themselves. Drafting Bronny would force them to give even more control to LeBron while setting themselves up for consistently awkward situations.

So, say, Bronny isn’t getting any minutes and needs to be sent down to the G-League. Do they ask LeBron or do they tell him? And if they ask him, what if he says no?

And what if LeBron thinks Bronny isn’t being coached correctly? How ugly is that going to be? How many whispers will leak out of the locker room then?

If the Lakers draft Bronny, the benefits will be far outweighed by the circus. The daily focus won’t be about wins and losses, but father and son. Their working relationship will dominate the talk on social media. With every Bronny move, the cameras will focus on LeBron’s reaction to that move.

No father and son ever played in the NBA at the same time. It would be history enough if Bronny plays elsewhere. It would be hysteria if he plays for the Lakers.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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