Pacific Notes: LeBron, Bronny, Suns, Budenholzer, Green, Nurkic

Appearing on ESPN’s Get Up earlier this week (YouTube link), Brian Windhorst said that he believes Lakers star LeBron James will decline his player option for 2024/25. There are a number of reasons why James may be motivated to opt out, Windhorst says, and creating “optionality” to play with his son Bronny James is among them.

However, agent Rich Paul has made an effort in recent weeks and months to dispel the idea that his father-and-son clients need to play together, according to Windhorst, who suggests that if LeBron does opt out, that’s unlikely to be the primary reason why. Windhorst also says he believes the four-time MVP will ultimately end up back with the Lakers, whether or not his son lands there too.

“I think if the Lakers have an opportunity to draft Bronny James, they will do so, whether that’s with the 55th pick or if they make another deal around the draft where they (acquire) another pick, I think they will try,” Windhorst said. “I do not think it’s going to be their top priority. And I don’t think the league right now is looking at this like, ‘Draft Bronny James and you can get LeBron.'”

Shams Charania of The Athletic expressed a similar sentiment regarding the Lakers and Bronny during an appearance on ESPN’s Pat McAfee Show (YouTube link). “In a perfect world,” Charania stated, Los Angeles would like to have a chance to draft Bronny, but the team won’t be structuring its draft plans around that goal.

Charania also went on to discuss how many years LeBron might have left in the NBA, explaining why family considerations will be a factor in that decision and why the longtime NBA superstar may just play a couple more seasons.

“He knows how much people around him have sacrificed,” Charania said. “His wife, his kids, his close friends, his loved ones – they’ve sacrificed a lot for him over these 21 years, could end up being up to 23 years that he plays in the league, and so pouring that back to them at some point in the next one to two years, I know that’s a priority as well.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • The Suns are expected to be “aggressive” on the trade market this summer, Charania said during his appearance on The Pat McAfee Show (Twitter video link). Charania points out that Phoenix will be able to trade its 2024 first-round pick (a deal could be agreed upon prior to the draft and officially finalized after the Suns make the pick) and its 2031 first-rounder this offseason. Still, the team’s ability to be aggressive will be somewhat limited due to the restrictive trade rules that apply to teams whose salaries are above the second tax apron, including an inability to aggregate player salaries.
  • Doug Haller of The Athletic takes a look at what the Suns are getting in new head coach Mike Budenholzer, speaking to some of Budenholzer’s former players and outlining why the coach’s “bulldog” personality might be just what Phoenix needs.
  • Warriors forward/center Draymond Green and Suns center Jusuf Nurkic, who had their share of run-ins during the 2023/24 season, have continued to trade barbs following the end of their teams’ respective seasons, as Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic details. After Green said during a TNT segment that the Suns “have no big man” (Twitter video link), Nurkic tweeted, “I see that brother still needs help,” and suggested that Green still hasn’t gotten over Suns tar Kevin Durant leaving Golden State in 2019.
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