Bronny James

And-Ones: Wembanyama, EuroLeague, Coaching Rumors, Bronny

Before he becomes the No. 1 pick in next month’s draft, Victor Wembanyama is enjoying a farewell tour of France, writes Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. The 7’3″ phenom drew 15,000 fans to his game Sunday in Paris, and they responded with loud cheers to every positive thing he did.

Reynolds notes that Wembanyama’s Boulogne-Levallois team typically plays in a high-school-sized gym with crowds of about 4,000. But with Wembanyama as an attraction, the late-season games have been moved to Accor Arena, which is on par with an NBA facility.

“I have the impression that the people here were real basketball fans who bought their tickets in advance,” Wembanyama said after entertaining the crowd with 25 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. “It’s nice.”

The 19-year-old center is considered a generational talent who will make next week’s lottery one of the most anticipated since the event began in 1985. The Pistons, Rockets and Spurs have the best odds to land the top pick at 14% each.

Wembanyama indicated that he’s paying close attention to the procedure, tweeting Sunday in French, “Ten days before knowing my future team. It’s really a crazy thing.”

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • The EuroLeague has reached an agreement to have its games streamed on ESPN 3, according to BasketNews. The rights deal will cover the remainder of this year’s playoffs and all of the 2023/24 season. “I am delighted that all U.S. basketball fans will have the possibility to watch all EuroLeague games on ESPN platform,” said Alex Ferrer Kristjansson, Euroleague Basketball marketing and communication senior director. “Globalization is a cornerstone for sports market growth in general and basketball in particular. We are confident that all U.S. basketball fans will appreciate the diversity of our stories and the experience that the EuroLeague delivers during the whole season.”
  • Michael Scotto of HoopsHype passes along some information on NBA coaching staffs in his latest column. Scotto reports that Bryan BaileyAlex JensenIgor Kokoskov and Antonio Lang are candidates for Quin Snyder‘s staff with the Hawks; G League head coach Scott Morrison will join Will Hardy’s staff with the Jazz; and David Adkins likely won’t return as the Trail Blazers‘ director of player development next season. Sources also tell Scotto that Will Voigt is a candidate to become the head coach of either the Blazers’ or Spurs‘ G League affiliate.
  • Fans shouldn’t pre-judge Bronny James because of however they feel about his father, states Joe Vardon of The Athletic, who agrees with LeBron James that USC is getting “a great kid.”

Bronny James Commits To USC; NBA Could Be A Year Away

The first step in a story that could have major NBA implications next summer took place today as Bronny James revealed that he’ll play college basketball at USC. The 18-year-old star at Sierra Canyon School in Los Angeles made the announcement on his Instagram page.

Bronny’s father, LeBron James, stated at the 2022 All-Star Game that one of his remaining career goals is to play on the same NBA team with his son. They would become the first father-and-son duo to ever be in the NBA at the same time.

LeBron’s current contract with the Lakers includes a $50.652MM player option for the 2024/25 season, which he could decline to become a free agent. He has indicated a willingness to sign with whatever team selects Bronny in next year’s draft.

He talked about it again in a January interview with Dave McMenamin of ESPN (video link), saying, “I need to be on the floor with my boy. I gotta be on the floor with Bronny. I would love to do the whole Ken Griffey Sr. and Jr. thing.”

The younger James has been steadily moving up draft boards, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reported in February. Givony has Bronny going 10th in his latest 2024 mock draft and calls him “arguably the best perimeter defender in his high school class.”

Bronny is a McDonald’s All-American and is considered one of the five best point guard prospects in high school, according to Jeff Borzello of ESPN. He selected the Trojans over Oregon and Ohio State, who were considered to be the other finalists in a mostly secretive recruiting process.

The potential pairing of LeBron and Bronny would be a huge money-maker for whoever can pull it off, Adam Zagoria states in a Forbes article. Pinnacle Advertising creative director Bob Dorfman told Zagoria that some teams could see a 50% rise in their valuation within a year if they were able to acquire both players.

“The franchise value of the team that lands them will skyrocket,” Dorfman added. “Their games will become must-see events that command huge ticket prices and prime-time viewing slots, and they could quickly turn into a playoff powerhouse.”

Draft Notes: 2024 Class, Bronny, B. Miller, Wembanyama

NBA evaluators have been underwhelmed by what they’ve seen so far from the top prospects among this year’s high school seniors, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Insider link), who says the 2024 draft class doesn’t necessarily feature any players who are viewed as “sure-fire, elite” NBA prospects.

As Givony writes, 2023’s draft class is headed by two clear-cut top prospects in Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson, and other recent drafts have also had a fairly well-defined top tier. However, that’s not the case so far for the 2024 class, since many of the best players in the group haven’t developed as rapidly as NBA teams have hoped.

Givony’s first 2024 mock draft has 6’10” Lithuanian guard Matas Buzelis coming off the board first, followed by Cody Williams, the brother of 2022 Thunder lottery pick Jalen Williams. Buzelis will play for the G League Ignite next season and should get the opportunity to take the reins for the Ignite with Henderson leaving for the NBA; Williams has committed to playing his college ball at Colorado.

In a somewhat surprising development, Givony has Bronny James, the son of Lakers star LeBron James, at No. 10 overall in his first ’24 mock. According to Givony, Bronny has emerged as perhaps the best perimeter defender of this year’s high school class, making major strides during the last 12-to-18 months while many of his peers have “flatlined.”

Here are a few more draft-related notes:

  • Alabama freshman Brandon Miller, widely considered to be a top-five prospect in the 2023 NBA draft class, allegedly brought the gun that was used in the killing of a woman on the Tuscaloosa strip last month, according to police testimony (link via Carol Robinson of Miller’s former Alabama teammate Darius Miles and another man, Michael Davis, were arrested and charged with capital murder. While the gun belonged to Miles, Miller reportedly brought it to the scene at his ex-teammate’s request. Miller’s car, which was struck by two bullets during the shooting, was allegedly one of two vehicles blocking the victim’s car.
  • Miller has not faced any charges related to the shooting and Alabama head coach Nate Oats said the freshman forward is “not in any trouble,” per Mike Rodak of However, it’s safe to assume that any NBA team that had been considering using a lottery pick on Miller in June will have to take a long, hard look at his alleged involvement in this incident.
  • ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Jonathan Givony and’s Jeremy Woo have shared excellent, in-depth profiles on super-prospect Victor Wembanyama, who is considered a virtual lock to be the first prospect drafted four months from today.
  • While Wembanyama has rightly received most of the hype, NBA teams have their eyes on several other rising prospects who possess a tantalizing mix of size and skill, as Seth Davis writes for The Athletic. “We’ve heard this term ‘small ball’ for a while, but what NBA teams were really trying to do was play ‘skill ball,'” broadcaster Stan Van Gundy said to Davis. “But if you can get size to go along with that skill, that’s going to make you even better. … I’m not saying they’re all going to be 7-3, but seeing guys 6-10 or bigger play like Victor are not going to be all that rare. Those guys are definitely the future of the game.”

And-Ones: World Cup Qualifiers, Nike Summit, MVP Race, Rising Stars, Draft

With two more qualifying matches for the 2023 World Cup right around the corner, USA Basketball has officially announced the 12-man roster that will compete in February’s games. Team USA’s squad is made up primarily of G Leaguers, but features a number of players with NBA experience.

The 12 players who will represent the U.S. on February 23 vs. Uruguay and Feb. 26 vs. Brazil are Deonte Burton, Will Davis II, Abdul Gaddy, Langston Galloway, Treveon Graham, Dusty Hannahs, Nate Hinton, Jay Huff, Xavier Moon, Elijah Pemberton, Reggie Perry, and Craig Sword.

So far, Canada is the only team in the Americas field to qualify for the 2023 World Cup, having won all of its first 10 qualifying contests. However, Team USA – which has an 8-2 record so far – will clinch a World Cup berth by winning either one of its two games this month, tweets Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today.

Meanwhile, USA Basketball also announced the rosters for the 2023 Nike Hoop Summit, an annual showcase of U.S. high school prospects that will take place on April 8. The most notable name on the men’s roster is Bronny James, but Bronny isn’t the only son of a former Cavaliers lottery pick to be named to the event — the 13-player roster also includes Dajuan Wagner Jr.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Nuggets center Nikola Jokic is building a strong case for his third consecutive MVP award and leads the way in the latest straw poll conducted by ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. Bontemps’ survey asks 100 media members for their current MVP ballots — Jokic received 77 first-place votes, easily besting runners-up Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Bucks (11 first-place votes) and Joel Embiid of the Sixers (6).
  • Rockets guard Jalen Green (left groin strain) and Pistons center Jalen Duren (right ankle sprain) have been forced to withdraw from Friday night’s Rising Stars event at All-Star weekend due to injuries, according to the NBA (Twitter link). They’re being replaced by Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu and Rockets forward Tari Eason.
  • In his latest mock draft for The Athletic, Sam Vecenie moves Alabama wing Brandon Miller up to No. 3, writing that Miller is considered the safest bet in the 2023 draft class – outside of Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson – to be a “really good player” at the NBA level. Vecenie’s top five is rounded out by Overtime Elite guard Amen Thompson at No. 4 and Houston forward Jarace Walker at No. 5.

And-Ones: Bronny, Western Contenders, Top Trade Candidates

LeBron James‘ son Bronny James was a standout performer at this month’s Hoophall Classic, cementing his place as one of the best two-way prospects in high school basketball, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Insider link).

As Givony outlines, the younger James’ strong frame and long wingspan fits the mold of what NBA teams are looking for, and he has continued to make strides as both an offensive and defensive player. Bronny looks like a legitimate five-star recruit and a one-and-done candidate, Givony adds, writing that the youngster will receive “strong consideration” for a spot in the first round of ESPN’s upcoming 2024 mock draft.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • A team that finishes outside of the top three in the Western Conference during the regular season hasn’t made the NBA Finals since 1995, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic, who notes that the long track record of success for top-three seeds indicates we could be headed for a new conference winner this season. The Nuggets and Grizzlies currently hold the top two spots in the West by a comfortable margin, with the Kings and Pelicans tied for third.
  • Pacers center Myles Turner, Hawks forward John Collins, and Pistons forward Bojan Bogdanovic top The Athletic’s trade deadline big board, which ranks players based on several factors, including the likelihood that they’ll be dealt and the impact they could have for a new team.
  • In Bobby Marks’ Western Conference trade deadline preview at ESPN (Insider link), the Spurs and Suns get scores of 10 on the “trade meter,” meaning they’re the teams most likely to make deals on or before February 9. The Nuggets (with a score of 3) and Grizzlies (4) are on the other end of the spectrum and have far less urgency to make a move.
  • Kelly Iko, Eric Nehm, and Doug Haller of The Athletic take a shot at constructing a three-team trade involving the Suns, Bucks, and Rockets that sends Jae Crowder to Milwaukee and Eric Gordon to Phoenix and would be acceptable for all sides. One proposed structure discussed by the three reporters has Kenyon Martin Jr. joining Crowder en route to Milwaukee, Grayson Allen headed to Phoenix along with Gordon, and the Rockets getting several pieces, including MarJon Beauchamp from the Bucks and a first-round pick from the Suns.

And-Ones: NBA Schedule, Scoring Record, Bronny James

The process of creating the NBA schedule, which was released earlier today, begins in earnest in early July, Gene Li, the NBA’s Senior Director, National Broadcast Lead, tells Katie Heindl of Uproxx. The league starts collecting open arena dates from teams in the fall, but the process of putting games on the board doesn’t get underway until after the draft and the early days of free agency.

An emphasis in recent years has been reducing the amount of air travel that teams have to endure. In total, there are 50,000 fewer travel miles in this year’s schedule and there are 88 instances with no travel, where road teams either play the same opponent twice in a row or they stay in the same city and face the Knicks and Nets or Lakers and Clippers.

“In the past we actually had reservations about doing those,” Li said. “We weren’t sure how the teams would feel, both competitively and having the same opponent visit your market for two nights, but with these past two seasons and the small sample size, we’ve seen that there really isn’t a downside from a competitive standpoint. So we’ll keep monitoring that for the seasons to come, but we’re glad it’s working out, that the teams like it and that it’s had that positive impact on travel.”

There’s more news from around the basketball world:

  • The ESPN staff picked out highlights from this season’s schedule, including Ben Simmons‘ return to Philadelphia on November 22 and Rudy Gobert‘s return to Utah on December 9. Zach Harper of The Athletic also includes those matchups on his list of the most anticipated games of 2022/23.
  • One of the NBA’s most hallowed records is likely to fall this season as LeBron James is on pace to overtake Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the league’s all-time scoring leader. An ESPN story examines the timeline for James, who is 1,325 points behind and will need 49 games if he maintains his career scoring average of 27.1 PPG. L.A.’s 49th game is January 25 against the Spurs, but ESPN notes that injuries prevented James from reaching the 49-game mark until the Lakers’ 67th contest of last season. That will take place March 10 against the Raptors.
  • James took to social media to dispute a report that Oregon has “emerged as the front-runner to land a commitment” from his son, Bronny James, writes Geoffrey C. Arnold of The Oregonian. Bronny will be a senior at Sierra Canyon High School in Chatsworth, California, and LeBron has expressed a desire to play on the same team with him in the NBA. “He hasn’t taken 1 visit yet and has only had a few calls with coaches and universities,” James tweeted. “When Bronny makes his choice you’ll hear it from him.”

And-Ones: Bronny, Ataman, Teodosic, Instagram

A lot of high-profile college programs are pursuing Bronny James, the son of LeBron James, according to ESPN national recruiting director Paul Biancardi (Insider link).

There’s a “strong feeling” that Bronny James will go the college route next year, according to Biancardi, with UCLA, USC, Michigan, Oregon and Ohio State among the teams recruiting him. LeBron has said his dream is to finish his NBA career playing with his son, who will be draft-eligible in 2024.

We have more from around the international basketball world:

  • The EuroLeague’s reigning coach of the year Ergin Ataman says it’s unlikely he’ll wind up as an NBA head coach, he indicated an interview with Turkish digital channel VOLE (hat tip to “My goal to go to the NBA has decreasing chances because I see that the NBA is a different world,” he said. “… Their perspective of basketball head coaches in Europe is very different. No European coach has ever gone from Europe to the NBA as a head coach. There is no NBA history, zero.” 
  • Former NBA guard Milos Teodosic had an agreement in place with Serbia’s Crvena Zvevda but it was nixed by Virtus Bologna, according to Sportando. Crvena Zvezda president Nebojsa Covic made that assertion in a Pink TV interview. “I’ve spoken at length with Teodosic and we agreed on pretty much everything about him joining us,” he said. “It was Virtus who said no, because it would have made things difficult for the club and because their supporters are fond of Teodosic.”
  • In the Instagram world, the NBA is much more popular than any other U.S. professional league. The NBA officially surpassed 70 million followers on Instagram, making it a top-10 most-followed brand on the platform, according to Alex Kennedy of Basketball News. The NBA has more followers than all the other major American sports leagues combined — the NFL (25 million), MLB (8.9 million) and NHL (5.5 million).

Pacific Notes: James, Anthony, Howard, Crowder

Bronny James will be eligible for the draft in 2024, and LeBron James‘ desire to play with his son could affect his decision regarding an extension, as Joe Vardon of The Athletic explains. James, who could be an unrestricted free agent after next season, can sign a two-year, $98MM extension with the Lakers this offseason.

The easiest way for LeBron and Bronny to play together is for LeBron to be a member of the team that drafts Bronny. The Lakers will likely have to commit to doing what it takes to draft his son in order for an extension to be reached. Vardon, noting that L.A. doesn’t currently control its 2024 first-round pick, suggests that the team may have to consider a trade bringing in a ’24 first-rounder, even though Bronny doesn’t currently project as a first-round prospect.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Many veteran players who saw action for the Lakers last season are still unsigned. ESPN’s Dave McMenamin takes a look at those players, including Carmelo Anthony, Avery Bradley and Dwight Howard, and explores which teams might have an interest in them.
  • A tweet from the Suns’ Jae Crowder created a stir, Jeremy Cluff of the Arizona Republic notes. Crowder wrote “Change is inevitable.. Growth is optional.!! I believe its time for a change… I wanna continue growing!” That fueled speculation that he wants to be traded. Crowder is entering his walk year and has been the subject of trade rumors, particularly involving one of his former teams, the Heat. The Suns are above the tax line and might look to shed some salary.
  • In case you missed it, Steve Kerr and Draymond Green played instrumental roles in convincing JaMychal Green to sign with the Warriors. Get the details here.

LeBron James: “The Door’s Not Closed” On A Potential Return To Cleveland

With LeBron James back in Cleveland for All-Star Weekend, he offered a hint that he might consider returning for one more stint with his hometown team, writes Jason Lloyd of The Athletic. When asked about playing for the Cavaliers again before he retires, James gave an open-ended response.

“The door’s not closed on that,” he said. “I’m not saying I’m coming back and playing, I don’t know. I don’t know what my future holds. I don’t even know when I’m free.”

James has one season remaining on his current deal with the Lakers at $44,474,988. He could be back on the free agent market in the summer of 2023 at age 38.

James emphasized that he hasn’t specifically pondered a return to Cleveland, but he also hasn’t ruled anything out. Lloyd notes that he could be referring to a simple one-day contract so he could retire as a Cavalier, but he could also mean something more.

The Cavs selected James with the first pick in the 2003 draft, and he spent seven years with the team before leaving for Miami as a free agent in 2010. He returned four years later and took the Cavaliers to four straight NBA Finals, capturing the franchise’s only championship in 2016, before departing for Los Angeles.

Although the Lakers won a title in 2020, Cleveland may have a brighter future than L.A. The Cavaliers have rebuilt since James left and are fourth in the East at 35-23 with plenty of youth on the roster. The Lakers, whose roster is stocked with veterans, are ninth in the West at 27-31.

“I think (Cavs general manager Koby Altman) and those guys have done an unbelievable job drafting and making trades,” James said. “I think big fella (Jarrett Allen), that acquisition was amazing for them to make that trade. Obviously Darius Garland is a big-time player. And I think the role that Kevin (Love) is playing right now has kind of uplifted those young guys, seeing a veteran that could sacrifice, a champion that’s won a championship, all the things that he’s done, to come off the bench and play this role. I am not surprised by anything that they’re doing right now.”

As Lloyd points out, it wouldn’t be easy for Cleveland to open enough cap room to sign James without tearing apart its current core. And James made it clear that he wouldn’t be interested in providing a hometown discount so the Cavs could sign him with their mid-level exception.

“I don’t play mid-level basketball,” he said. “I don’t come back for anything below the top.”

James also revealed today that he plans to play his final NBA season for whichever team winds up with his son, Bronny. Currently a junior in high school, the earliest that Bronny could be draft-eligible is 2024.

“My last year will be played with my son,” James said. “Wherever Bronny is at, that’s where I’ll be. I would do whatever it takes to play with my son for one year. It’s not about the money at that point.”

Pacific Notes: James, Lakers, Batum, Warriors

How much longer does LeBron James want to keep playing? Long enough to make history by playing with his son Bronny, Mark Medina of USA Today tweets. “That’s definitely one of my goals, but that’s a long-term goal,” The Lakers‘ star said. “My son right now is in high school and enjoying what being a teenager is all about. But that would be pretty cool to go on my resume.” Bronny, 16, attends Sierra Canyon in Chatsworth, Calif. and recently had surgery to repair torn meniscus.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers are unlikely to find help via a trade due to salary-cap restrictions and the fact that their best trade pieces are rotation players, Jovan Buha of The Athletic opines. The team could use help at backup center, as well as a large wing with 3-point ability. Their best place to find that would be in the buyout market, with Andre Drummond, P.J. Tucker and Trevor Ariza as possibilities. The Lakers’ reported interest in Drummond was already noted here.
  • Nicolas Batum was looking to redeem himself after his career went sour in Charlotte. The Clippers entered the season seeking redemption after an abrupt dismissal from the postseason. That’s one of the reasons Batum decided to sign with the team, as Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times details. Batum is averaging 9.0 PPG, 4.8 RPG and 2.4 APG in 35 starts this season. He’s on a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal and will re-enter the free agent market this summer.
  • The Warriors would be better off building toward next season rather than making moves to collect more victories this season, Tim Kawakami of The Athletic argues. There’s no reason to use their $9.2MM disabled player exception, especially with the luxury-tax implications it would bring. The better course of action would to give lottery pick James Wiseman ample playing time and wait for the loaded draft.