Bronny James limiting NBA draft workouts is ‘by design,’ agent says

Sources at a half-dozen NBA teams have told ESPN they’re having difficulty securing workouts with 2024 draft prospect Bronny James, but the former USC guard’s agent confirmed James has only held in-person workouts for two teams at this point — the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers — and said that’s by design.

Agent Rich Paul, CEO of Klutch Sports Group, spoke with ESPN on Wednesday and questioned whether James has received different treatment than other players during the pre-draft process.

The Suns have the No. 22 pick and the Lakers have the Nos. 17 and 55 picks in the NBA Draft, which takes place June 26-27 in New York (ABC/ESPN/ESPN+).

Other NBA teams have told ESPN they are interested in seeing James in a different context and workout setting than the one they saw him in at USC.

“This is nothing new,” Paul said. “The goal is to find a team that values ​​your guy and motivates him to get there. It’s important to understand the context and realize that this has always been the strategy with many of my clients, especially guys in need of growth like Bronny. My stuff is by design.”

Paul pointed to his track record of moving clients to preferred destinations, as he did with Talen Horton-Tucker (No. 46 pick in 2019), Brandon Boston Jr. (No. 51 pick in 2021) and Chris Livingston (No. 58 pick in 2023), who all earned guaranteed deals despite having fewer workouts and being selected late in the draft.

Paul said he employed similar tactics with first-round selections MarJon Beauchamp (No. 24 pick in 2022) and Darius Garland (No. 5 pick in 2019), shielding his clients from workouts and withholding medical information from teams, a practice now prohibited by the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement.

“Bronny is just like my past clients,” Paul said. “I’ve told teams early on that if you’re planning on bringing Bronny in, you need to know this: If you don’t give him the real deal, there’s nothing to talk about. It’s hard to get real development on a two-way deal.

“I don’t care if he goes to the Lakers or Phoenix or what number he’s picked at. It’s all about his fitness.”

Paul later said: “If Bronny’s name was Charles Jacobson and he was my client – ​​I would do the same thing: identify teams that had real interest.”

LeBron James has previously said he would like to team up with his son, but the Lakers star said after his final game of the season that he “hasn’t thought much lately” about playing with Bronny. The four-time MVP and four-time NBA champion just completed his 21st season and could become a free agent if he opts out of his contract with the Lakers.

“The young man is going to decide what he wants to do and what direction he wants to take his career,” LeBron James said at the time.

At the NBA Draft Combine in May, Bronny said his focus was not on playing with his father, but on “getting into the league.”

“LeBron is off on the idea of ​​playing with Bronny,” Paul told ESPN. “If he does it, he does it. But if he doesn’t do it, he doesn’t do it. There’s no deal in place that guarantees that if the Lakers draft Bronny at age 55, he will do it. [LeBron] Will re-sign. If that were the case, I would force them to take him at 17. We don’t need leverage. The Lakers can draft Bronny and LeBron won’t re-sign. LeBron isn’t even going to Phoenix for a minimum deal. We can get this over with now.

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

With a week left until the draft, Paul says Bronny has probably completed workouts barring something unexpected happening.

“Lakers and Phoenix, that was it,” Paul said. “If someone calls me late, something could happen at the last minute. We’ll see.”

Jonathan Givony is an NBA draft expert and the founder and co-owner of DraftExpress.com, a private scouting and analysis service used by NBA, NCAA and international teams.

#

Disclaimer : The content in this article is for educational and informational purposes only.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *