Bronny James decision has major impact on LeBron James retirement & Lakers future

Matthew Legros
Bronny James as a member of the USC Trojans (left) and LeBron James as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers (right).

Bronny James has three routes he can take following his freshman season at USC, and each carry tremendous ramifications for him as well as his father LeBron James’ NBA future.

Bronny, 19, is expected to enter the 2024 NBA Draft. The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists for the Trojans in 2023, but shot poorly from the field at 36.6 percent.

The younger James was once projected to go as high as the lottery. However, his numbers, coupled with his cardiac arrest on July 24 due to a congenital heart defect, have dampened his draft stock.

If Bronny enters this year, he could fall to the bottom of the second round, or go undrafted.

James can return to USC for his sophomore season and grow his game. He’d likely see more than the six starts he made in 25 games played last year. The younger James would benefit from a bump in minutes and offensive workload.

Bronny could also transfer to another program. The Trojans did not make the NCAA tournament and could lose three of their best players this summer. As such, he could seek a bigger role with a contending program.

While a second season in college would give him more to show for, it would delay a potential NBA pairing with his father LeBron James.

The Los Angeles Lakers superstar has long been vocal about wanting to play with his eldest son before he retires. He recently doubled down on comments he made during this year’s All-Star Weekend about seriously considering retirement.

The 20-time All-Star will enter his 22nd year in the league next season as he approaches 40 years of age. His son’s draft decision could kill his dream of them playing together.

As a result, the Lakers would likely drop out of championship contention with large shoes left to fill. The elder James helped resurrect the Lakers from a 35-win team in 2017-18, the year before he arrived, to 2020 NBA champions in three seasons.

Ultimately, Bronny’s entire support system wants what’s best for him. His game shows flashes of NBA readiness, so if that’s the route he takes, he could develop in rapid speed next to his father and generate massive box office appeal.

Related Topics

About The Author

Matthew graduated from Brooklyn College in 2022 with a Bachelor's degree in Communications. In the past, he's written for Heavy Sports, Sports Illustrated, and SB Nation. On top of penning scripts for Empire Sports Media, Matthew covers the latest NBA, NFL and Boxing news for Dexerto. His expertise lies in basketball, with a personal passion for track-and-field. You can contact him at