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Offseason | NBA Week 26

Lakers favored to draft Bronny James, but are rivals circling?

Wed May 29 11:35pm ET
Field Level Media

Let the rumor games begin in earnest.

Bronny James is staying in the 2024 NBA Draft, adding a massive layer of intrigue despite not being projected as a first-round pick, much less a lottery selection.

LeBron James has seemingly backed off previous statements that his hope is to play with his son in the NBA. Is that posturing, or would The King truly be satisfied with potentially playing opposite Bronny a few times a year?

The next month promises to bring smoke screens and rumor mongering at the highest NBA level.


LeBron James is expected to opt out of his current contract before the June 29 deadline, regardless of whether he plans to return to the Los Angeles Lakers. The question is whether he will use that as leverage to make sure that he winds up playing alongside -- not opposite -- Bronny, regardless of whether he calls Crypto.com Arena home next season.

At least one sportsbook is offering odds on each of the potential 30 NBA teams drafting Bronny James.

TEAM TO DRAFT BRONNY JAMES*

Los Angeles Lakers (2/3)

Phoenix Suns (2/1)

New York Knicks (16/1)

Los Angeles Clippers (18/1)

Cleveland Cavaliers (20/1)

Philadelphia 76ers (20/1)

Memphis Grizzlies (22/1)

Miami Heat (22/1)

Chicago Bulls (25/1)

Milwaukee Bucks (25/1)

Atlanta Hawks (28/1)

Dallas Mavericks (28/1)

Oklahoma City Thunder (28/1)

San Antonio Spurs (28/1)

Golden State Warriors (33/1)

Utah Jazz (33/1)

Boston Celtics (40/1)

Denver Nuggets (40/1)

Houston Rockets (40/1)

Minnesota Timberwolves (40/1)

New Orleans Pelicans (40/1)

Portland Trail Blazers (40/1)

Sacramento Kings (40/1)

Toronto Raptors (40/1)

Orlando Magic (45/1)

Brooklyn Nets (50/1)

Detroit Pistons (50/1)

Indiana Pacers (50/1)

Washington Wizards (50/1)

Charlotte Hornets (66/1)

*Odds provided by SportsBetting.ag for informational purposes only.

On the surface, the Lakers are the perfect landing spot. LeBron James clearly loves playing for the purple and gold, and teaming with Bronny in Hollywood would be a marketing grand slam.

The problem is the Lakers currently hold the Nos. 17 and 55 picks in the June 26 draft (though the New Orleans Pelicans have the option of taking the Lakers' first-round pick either this draft or next). Bronny James, 19, isn't viewed as a mid-first-round prospect by most analysts, but there are no shortage of teams that might look to take a flier on him before No. 55.

That's why most of the teams with the next-shortest odds to draft Bronny James have also been mentioned as potential suitors for LeBron if he's open to another change of NBA addresses.

The Phoenix Suns, who own the No. 22 pick, are scheduled to work out Bronny James.

Thickening the plot, Suns general manager James Jones played with LeBron James in Cleveland and Miami. Could Jones make a play to add the James duo to a core that includes Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal?

Phoenix currently has +1200 odds at DraftKings to be the next team LeBron James takes the court for. That's behind only the Lakers at -425 and the Cleveland Cavaliers at +750.

The Cavs are tied for the fifth-shortest odds at SportsBetting.ag to draft Bronny James, which could lead to a third stint for LeBron with his hometown team. The +2000 odds are the same as those of the Philadelphia 76ers, who may see a closing window of opportunity with injury-prone superstar Joel Embiid. The Sixers have the fifth-shortest odds at DraftKings to land LeBron at +2200.

Another intriguing destination for the father-son tandem -- should they work a situation to play together -- is the bright lights of New York City. The New York Knicks are coming off a season that fell a win shy of the Eastern Conference Finals.

With an ascending roster and another proven star in Jalen Brunson, could the James duo suit up together in Madison Square Garden? The Knicks have the third-shortest odds to draft Bronny James, while DraftKings is offering +2500 odds that they'll sign LeBron James.

Of course, there's still the very real possibility that father and son are playing for different NBA franchises next season. But LeBron James' opt-out provides a path for the elder James to help stack the deck strongly in his favor should the ultimate goal be to play alongside his son as soon as next season.

Player Notes
Pascal Siakam Thu Jun 20 12:10pm

ESPN Senior NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski has reported that Pascal Siakam plans to sign a new maximum deal with the Indiana Pacers, worth $189.5 million over four years. The All-NBA forward is expected to sign the new contract once the league's free agency moratorium ends on July 6. After a mid-season trade from the Toronto Raptors, Siakam became a major part of Indiana's success, helping lead the team to the Eastern Conference Finals. In 41 regular season games with the Pacers, the 30-year-old averaged 21.3 points per game while shooting 55% from the field in 41 regular-season.

Gary Payton II Thu Jun 20 12:10pm

ESPN NBA reporter Kendra Andrews has reported that point Gary Payton II has chosen to remain in Golden State with the Warriors after opting into his $9.1 million player option for next year. The 31-year-old guard averaged 5.5 points and 2.6 rebounds while shooting 56.3% from the field this past season. However, his health remains a concern. Payton only played in 44 games as several injuries forced him to be sidelined. He missed games in November and December with a calf strain, and then a hamstring strain cost him time in January and February. The Warriors hope to get more production from Payton moving forward.

LeBron James Thu Jun 20 12:10pm

According to Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James' agent, Rich Paul, his client won't suit up for the Suns this season on a minimum contract. Speculation began to swirl about the possibility of James playing in Phoenix after his son, Bronny James, worked out for the club. However, it appears even if the Suns select the 19-year-old in the 2024 NBA Draft, it won't be enough to coax his father into joining Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal. Without question, the multi-time All-Star is nearing the end of his career. Yet, despite injuries, he's still productive, finishing the 2023-24 campaign by averaging 25.7 points, 8.3 assists, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.3 steals while shooting a career-high 41.0% from deep. At any rate, James still needs to decline his $51.4 million player option to enter unrestricted free agency, with his decision expected to come soon.

Bruce Brown Thu Jun 20 12:10pm

According to NBA insider Marc Stein, the Toronto Raptors are expected to pick up the team option of guard/forward Bruce Brown. The 27-year-old won an NBA championship with the Nuggets in 2022-23. However, after signing with the Indiana Pacers, he was dealt to Toronto ahead of the 2023-24 trade deadline. He appeared in 34 games for the Raptors, although his statistical contributions declined, averaging 9.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.7 assists. Nonetheless, the Raptors could end up trading him at some point during the 2024-25 campaign, potentially increasing his production.

Al Horford Wed Jun 19 3:30pm

Boston Celtics forward/centerAl Horfordwill be returning for his 18th NBA season next year. Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck was on The Greg Hill Show on WEEI, a local Boston radio station, and said, "Al is coming back for next year. That's what I've been told." At 38 years old, Horford won his first NBA championship on Monday as the Celtics defeated the Mavs 106-88. He's suited up for 186 postseason contests and averaged 33.8 minutes, 12.2 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.2 blocks in his career.

Pascal Siakam Wed Jun 19 3:30pm

According to Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files, Indiana Pacers forward/centerPascal Siakam is close to signing a long-term contract extension with the team. Siakam had a solid first season as a Pacer and should receive a maximum deal. The All-Star forward compiled averages of 21.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 3.7 assists in 41 regular-season contests with the Pacers. In January, he was traded from Toronto for Bruce Brown,Jordan Nwora and three first-round picks.

OG Anunoby Wed Jun 19 3:30pm

New York Knicks forward OG Anunoby might end up elsewhere this offseason. Per ESPN's Brian Windhorst, there have been "indications" that Anunoby may want to test the market as a free agent because he is "not thrilled" with what the Knicks are offering. Reports suggest that Anunoby could land a contract worth $35-40 million per year in free agency. Anunoby was a very good fit with the Knicks after arriving from Toronto on Dec. 30. He averaged 14.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.7 steals, and 1.0 blocks with the team. The Knicks had a fantastic 20-3 regular-season record with him in the lineup.

Bojan Bogdanovic Wed Jun 19 3:30pm

New York Knicks forward Bojan Bogdanovic is set to become a trade piece. According to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, the Knicks are expected to guarantee Bogdanovic's contract for 2024-25, which would make him a trade candidate for the final season of his deal. Bogdanovic has a $19 million deal in place for next season, but only $2 million of it is guaranteed. The Croatian veteran moved to New York in February in a trade with the Detroit Pistons, averaging 10.4 points and 2.0 rebounds in 19.2 minutes off the bench. He was a good bench piece for the team, but the Knicks could be looking to use his contract in a trade for a star player.

Patty Mills Wed Jun 19 3:30pm

Miami Heat point guard Patty Mills wants to continue his playing career. Mills will turn 36 in August but is eager to remain in the NBA after splitting the 2023-24 campaign between Atlanta and Miami. "I take really good care of myself and my body and the plan is to continue to play until the wheels fall off is how I see it," Mills told Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Mills, who won the NBA championship with San Antonio in 2014, has mostly been used as a veteran presence on teams in recent seasons. He was limited to 13.0 minutes and 4.0 points in 32 appearances in 2023-24.

Klay Thompson Tue Jun 18 3:20pm

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, impending free-agent guard Klay Thompson is open to all "external options" in free agency this summer. The Warriors want him back. However, it remains to be seen how much Golden State is willing to bid for his services. But considering teams like the Orlando Magic could make Thompson a lucrative offer, his future with the Warriors is all but guaranteed. The 34-year-old averaged 17.9 points last season, his fewest since the 2012-13 campaign. He also started in just 63 of his 77 appearances after getting pulled briefly from the first five during the year. While Thompson's production is frustrating for fantasy managers, he could benefit from a change of scenery, especially if he remains in the starting lineup.

Jaylen Brown Tue Jun 18 3:20pm

Boston Celtics guard/forward Jaylen Brown was named the 2024 Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP after the team closed out Dallas with a 106-86 victory on Monday. Brown, who was also voted the Eastern Conference Finals MVP during Boston's successful playoff campaign, had 21 points, eight rebounds, six assists, and two steals in the title-clincher. He averaged 20.8 points in the Finals with 5.4 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.6 steals. The 27-year-old is the seventh Celtics player to be named the Finals MVP, the first since Paul Pierce in 2008. Brown has just entered his prime and should remain a valuable fantasy piece for a long time.

Jayson Tatum Tue Jun 18 3:20pm

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum closed out the 2024 NBA Finals in style, going close to a 30-point triple-double in Monday's title-clincher against Dallas. He led all scorers with 31 points and registered eight rebounds and 11 assists with two steals. The Boston star had two 30-point efforts in the five-game series and ended up as the team leader in points, rebounds, and assists. However, the 2024 Finals MVP award went to Tatum's partner in crime, Jaylen Brown. Tatum's scoring numbers dropped in 2023-24, but he recorded a career-high 4.9 assists and had another good fantasy year overall.

Kristaps Porzingis Tue Jun 18 3:20pm

Boston Celtics forward/center Kristaps Porzingis (leg) returned to the court in Game 5 of the 2024 NBA Finals against Dallas on Monday. Despite carrying a leg injury, he contributed six points in 16 minutes off the bench as the team earned banner No. 18 with a 106-88 win. Porzingis, who became the first Latvia native to win an NBA championship, has been diagnosed with a torn medial retinaculum, allowing dislocation of the posterior tibialis tendon. The 28-year-old told ESPN that he will require surgery and have a recovery process of a "few months." Porzingis had another injury-riddled campaign in 2023-24, and his health status is definitely something fantasy managers must consider when planning for the new season.

Al Horford Tue Jun 18 3:20pm

Boston Celtics forward/center Al Horford had a special night on Monday as the team finished off Dallas in the 2024 NBA Finals with a 106-88 win. He shook off an unwanted status as the active player with the most playoff appearances without winning an NBA championship. Horford, who made his debut with Atlanta in 2007-08, played in his 186th career playoff game on Monday. He had a good all-around outing with nine points, nine rebounds, two assists, and two steals. The 38-year-old, who also became the first Dominican-born player to win an NBA championship, filled in admirably for Kristaps Porzingis as the starting center throughout the postseason. James Harden is now the record-holder among active players with 166 playoff contests without winning a ring, while Karl Malone has the all-time mark with 193 games.

Luka Doncic Tue Jun 18 3:20pm

Dallas Mavericks point guard Luka Doncic recorded 28 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, and three steals as his squad failed to extend the NBA Finals against Boston on Monday. Doncic received very little support from his teammates in a 106-88 defeat. It was a disappointing finish to an otherwise outstanding campaign for Doncic, who led the NBA in scoring in 2023-24 and produced 21 triple-doubles. He was also the top scorer in the Finals with 29.2 points per game and became the first player in history to average at least 25 points, five rebounds, five assists, and two steals in the Finals.

Kyrie Irving Tue Jun 18 3:20pm

Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving managed only 15 points on 5-for-16 shooting in Monday's 106-88 Game 5 loss against Boston. The Mavericks offense struggled right from the off, and Irving was forced to watch his former team celebrate the championship in the end. He was 3-for-9 with the three-ball and picked up three rebounds, nine assists, and one steal. Irving was fantastic in the Conference Finals against Minnesota, but very little went his way in his fourth NBA Finals series. The veteran star, who is now 1-3 in the Finals, averaged 19.8 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 5.0 assists with 27.8 shooting from behind the arc against Boston.

Kristaps Porzingis Mon Jun 17 3:20pm

Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis (leg) is questionable for Monday's meeting with the Dallas Mavericks. Porzingis returned for Game 1 of the NBA Finals after missing over a month because of a Soleus strain. Unfortunately, he suffered a dislocated Left Posterior Tibialis in Game 2 and didn't suit up in Game 3. Porzingis was available in Friday's loss. However, he never made it on the floor. The Mavs built a big lead early in that contest, so it's unknown if Joe Mazzulla would have put him into the game had the score remained close. But if the veteran is active on Monday evening, he's certainly a risky DFS option, considering he may not get off the bench.

Luka Doncic Mon Jun 17 3:20pm

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (chest) is probable for Game 5 of the NBA Finals versus the Boston Celtics. Besides receiving pain-killing injections, it doesn't appear the thoracic contusion is much of an issue for the multi-time All-Star. He's averaged 29.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 2.5 steals during the series. While Doncic has struggled shooting from deep, he remains the top DFS option for managers on Monday evening.

Jarrett Allen Mon Jun 17 3:20pm

Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen is reportedly on the Pelicans' radar. Jonas Valanciunas isn't expected back next season, and Brandon Ingram could be on the move, so adding Allen would undoubtedly lessen the blow caused by the potential departures. The 26-year-old finished last season by averaging a career-high 16.5 points with 10.5 rebounds and 1.1 blocks. He also shot 63.4% from the field. Of course, Cleveland's primary focus this offseason is on extending Donovan Mitchell. However, the Cavs could keep their core intact, considering Evan Mobley wasn't the healthiest during the 2023-24 campaign.

Jonas Valanciunas Mon Jun 17 3:20pm

The New Orleans Pelicans are expected to move on from center Jonas Valanciunas this offseason. The 32-year-old will officially be an unrestricted free agent this summer, with the Pelicans planning to construct the roster to complement the skillset of Zion Williamson better. But Valanciunas, averaging 12.2 points and 8.8 rebounds during the 2023-24 campaign, will draw interest from at least a handful of teams. Although his production was down last season, he's among the most durable big men in the National Basketball Association. With that in mind, if Valanciunas finds a stable role for a new team, he could continue to provide double-double upside for fantasy managers.