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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 Arena home next season.

At least one sportsbook is offering odds on each of the potential 30 NBA teams drafting 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 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 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
Kristaps Porzingis Wed May 29 3:30pm

Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis (calf) has been increasing his activity, as he attempts to return from a strained calf injury he suffered in the first round of the playoffs. In a recent interview, head coach Joe Mazzulla provided a positive outlook on the veteran center's potential return for the NBA Finals, stating, "Like I said, he's working really, really hard. There's been a couple shootarounds where he hasn't done anything with the team but has been in a 1-on-1 setting kind of ramping it up with the intensity level of it. He's been getting better and better." The Celtics have cruised through the postseason, and the NBA Finals will not begin for more than another week, giving Porzingis more time to get fully healthy.

Daniel Gafford Wed May 29 10:00am

Dallas Mavericks center Daniel Gafford scored 12 points with perfect 6-for-6 shooting and swatted away three shots in a 105-100 loss to the Timberwolves on Tuesday. Playing a playoff-high 31 minutes, Gafford contributed in multiple areas, grabbing eight rebounds and tallying one assist with one steal. The 25-year-old big man saw extra action due to Dereck Lively II (neck) being out. He's been a major force on the defensive end in the series and always does his work on offense efficiently as well. With four games played in the matchup, Gafford has averaged 10.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks with 72.4 percent shooting.

Kyrie Irving Wed May 29 9:50am

Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving saw his incredible run of wins in closeout games come to an end on Tuesday, as the team went 105-100 down against Minnesota on home court. Irving had previously won on all 14 occasions when his team was in a spot to finish off a playoff series. However, the Mavericks were far from their best on Tuesday, and it was also a poor effort from Irving, who had 16 points with 6-for-18 shooting. He was 1-for-6 from behind the arc and capped off his line with two rebounds, four assists, and one steal. Irving and the Mavericks will look to get back on track in Game 5 on Thursday.

Luka Doncic Wed May 29 9:40am

Dallas Mavericks point guard Luka Doncic came up with his ninth postseason triple-double on Tuesday, but his efforts weren't enough in a 105-100 loss to Minnesota. The Mavericks leader finished with 28 points, 15 rebounds, and 10 assists, leading his team in all categories. His line included one steal, although Doncic's triple-double came with poor 7-for-21 shooting. He was 4-for-11 from downtown and 10-for-12 at the free-throw line. Doncic now shares the ninth spot on the all-time playoff triple-doubles list with Wilt Chamberlain, with Magic Johnson sitting at the top with 30. However, four of Doncic's triple-doubles have come in losses, including two this year, which will be frustrating for him.

Rudy Gobert Wed May 29 9:30am

Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert registered a 13-point, 10-rebound double-double as the team managed to avoid a sweep against Dallas in the Western Conference Finals on Tuesday with a 105-100 win. Gobert made four of his five attempts from the field and finished 5-for-9 at the line. He had one assist and one block, logging 39 minutes of action despite battling foul trouble. This marks the second double-double of the series for Gobert, who has averaged 12.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks in the matchup. His numbers have dropped compared to the regular season, and it would be a big plus for the Timberwolves if he could get back to the level.

Mike Conley Wed May 29 9:30am

Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Mike Conley produced a good two-way performance in Tuesday's Game 4 win over the Mavericks, scoring 14 points on 5-for-9 shooting and snagging four steals. He also recorded three rebounds in 34 minutes on the floor as Minnesota fought off elimination. Conley struggled in the first game of the series, but he's played well since then, and the team needs more of the same to remain alive again in Game 5 on Thursday. The veteran point guard will enter the contest with averages of 16.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 2.0 steals across the last three games.

Anthony Edwards Wed May 29 9:20am

Minnesota Timberwolves guard/forward Anthony Edwards posted a game-high 29 points and had 10 rebounds with nine assists as the team won Tuesday's elimination game against Dallas 105-100. He finished with 11-for-25 shooting, going 2-for-5 from downtown. Edwards has struggled to remain efficient from the field in the series, but he's been close to a triple-double multiple times and boasts some impressive numbers. Through four games in the matchup, Edwards has averaged 23.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, 8.3 assists, and 1.0 steals. He should be around triple-double numbers again on Thursday as the Timberwolves try to stave off elimination once more.

Karl-Anthony Towns Wed May 29 9:10am

Minnesota Timberwolves forward/center Karl-Anthony Towns managed to end his shooting slump in Tuesday's Game 4 against Dallas, hitting 9-for-13 from the field en route to 25 points in a 105-100 win. After nailing only three shots with 22 attempts from deep across the first three games of the series, Towns was 4-for-5 with the three-ball. He recorded five rebounds and one assist while battling foul trouble all game. With Towns back in form, this series might not be over after all. Minnesota can make it 3-2 at home on Thursday, and we should see Towns in a prominent role again.

Jimmy Butler Tue May 28 9:50pm

According to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the 76ers are reportedly willing to offer Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler a max contract extension. Of course, Miami would need to make him available. But if the Butler era in South Beach is finished, Philadelphia would be required to give him a two-year extension worth $113 million. The 34-year-old averaged 20.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 1.3 steals during the 2023-24 campaign. However, he hasn't played more than 64 games in a season since 2016-17, when he was still with the Bulls. If Butler can stay healthy, he could be at least a top-15 fantasy option. On the other hand, his consistent injuries over the years will make fantasy managers look the other way heading into the 2024-25 season.

Simone Fontecchio Tue May 28 5:50pm

Detroit Pistons forwardSimone Fontecchio(toe) had surgery on his left big toe on Tuesday and is expected to return by the start of training camp, per James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. Fontecchio missed the final 14 regular season contests with a contusion on his right big toe. However, the 28-year-old was reliable for the Pistons before getting injured. He averaged 15.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 0.9 steals in 30.2 minutes per game, starting in nine of 16 outings as he was traded from Utah in February to the Motor City. As a restricted free agent, he could attract interest from multiple teams, including Detroit. Fontecchio had previously expressed a strong desire to stay with the Pistons.

Keldon Johnson Tue May 28 5:10pm

San Antonio Spurs small forward Keldon Johnson could be traded this summer as the Spurs are willing to hear offers involving the 24-year-old, according to Clutch Sports NBA reporter Brett Siegel. This past regular season, the Kentucky Wildcat averaged 29.5 minutes, 15.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 0.3 blocks, and 0.7 steals across 69 contests. Johnson would be an excellent option coming off the bench for a contending team.

Pascal Siakam Tue May 28 4:50pm

Indiana Pacers forward/centerPascal Siakamis expected to receive a max contract offer from the Pacers this summer, per Shams Charania of the Athletic. The 30-year-old averaged 35.4 minutes, 21.6 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 0.4 blocks, and 0.8 steals across 17 postseason contests. He helped take the Pacers to the Eastern Conference Finals after being traded from the Toronto Raptors in January.

Maxi Kleber Tue May 28 4:20pm

Dallas Mavericks forward/centerMaxi Kleber(shoulder) is set to return for Game 4 against the Timberwolves on Tuesday, according to NBA reporter Marc Stein. The 32-year-old power forward has been out of the Mavs lineup since May 3rd due to an AC joint separation. Kleber could see plenty of minutes as Derek Lively II (neck) is currently listed as doubtful. Before Kleber was sidelined, he averaged 19.3 minutes, 5.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 0.5 blocks in six postseason contests.

Mike Conley Tue May 28 3:50pm

Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Mike Conley (Achilles) is questionable for Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals against Dallas on Tuesday. Conley has suffered from a right soleus strain but has suited up the last five contests. The 36-year-old veteran will likely be good to go, with Minnesota on the verge of elimination. He has averaged 13.3 points, 4.0 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 31.7 minutes in the series.

T.J. McConnell Tue May 28 10:10am

Indiana Pacers point guard T.J. McConnell enjoyed another productive bench outing on Monday against the Celtics, scoring 15 points and tallying five rebounds, four assists, and one steal as Indiana's season ended with a 105-102 loss. He finished with 7-for-16 shooting, missing his lone attempt from three-point range. McConnell impressed throughout the playoffs with his high-energy performances off the bench. He averaged 11.8 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 5.1 assists across 20.5 minutes. Plenty of teams will likely be looking at him as a potential offseason acquisition, with McConnell on a very affordable $9.3 million deal for next season. Recent reports suggest that he has been a long-term target of the Phoenix Suns, who are desperate for a point guard.

Pascal Siakam Tue May 28 10:00am

Indiana Pacers forward/center Pascal Siakam finished the 2023-24 campaign with a double-double, notching 19 points and 10 rebounds in Monday's 105-102 loss to the Celtics. His line included three assists as Siakam shot 8-for-18 from the field with a 0-for-3 effort from downtown. It was a bad ending to an otherwise productive series, which saw Siakam become the first player in history to record 50-plus points with zero free-throw attempts in the first two games of a Conference Finals series. The Cameroonian star is set to become an unrestricted free agent, but he had a good spell with the Pacers and is expected to re-sign with the team. He is eligible for a five-year, $245 million deal.

Andrew Nembhard Tue May 28 9:50am

Indiana Pacers guard Andrew Nembhard was the squad's leading scorer with 24 points on 10-for-18 shooting as the team's season ended with a Game 4 defeat against Boston on Monday. The 24-year-old added 10 assists for a nice double-double and recorded six rebounds with one steal and one block. Indiana will be very disappointed by getting swept in the Eastern Conference Finals, but Nembhard's performances in the series are definitely a positive for the team. He averaged 28.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 9.5 assists in the two full games played without Tyrese Haliburton (hamstring). This was only his second season in the league, and Nembhard could be ready to make big strides in 2024-25.

Jrue Holiday Tue May 28 9:40am

Boston Celtics guard Jrue Holiday finished Monday's Game 4 victory against Indiana with 17 points, nine rebounds, and two assists, shooting 7-for-13 from the floor and hitting twice from downtown with six attempts. Despite picking up an illness bug in the middle of the series, Holiday was highly efficient throughout the matchup. He hit nearly 42 percent of his three-point attempts and shot 58.7 percent overall to average 18.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 1.5 steals. With him in such good form, the Celtics look near unbeatable.

Jayson Tatum Tue May 28 9:30am

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum collected his 11th double-double of the 2024 postseason on Monday with 26 points and 13 rebounds in a 105-102 win over the Pacers. He was two assists short of a triple-double and added one steal to his tally. It was a productive effort from Tatum, although the Celtics star had a tough time from three-point range with a 3-for-11 effort, which left a bad mark on his shooting efficiency. He finished the closeout game with 11-for-26 overall shooting. Tatum's shooting struggles aren't anything new in these playoffs, but he has improved his numbers throughout the postseason and pushed his scoring average to 30.3 points in the Eastern Conference Finals. The five-time All-Star also recorded 10.3 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 1.3 steals in the series.

Derrick White Tue May 28 9:30am

Boston Celtics guard Derrick White had an incredible defensive performance against the Pacers in Monday's closeout game, recording five steals and three blocks. He also picked up four rebounds and four assists in the contest, capping off the big performance with a game-winning three-pointer to push Boston into the 2024 NBA Finals. He was a poor 2-for-9 with the three-ball for the night but shot a solid 7-for-14 overall to finish with 16 points. Incredibly, White leads the C's in both blocks and three-pointers made in these playoffs. He's averaging 17.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.3 blocks, and 0.9 steals for the postseason.