Special to Sports News Highlights

(SNH) — Bronny James – the son of Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James – is expected to stay in the 2024 NBA Draft.

James was officially cleared to play in the league as part of the NBA’s Fitness to Play panel and is set to participate in pre-draft activities starting with the Draft Combine on Tuesday.

The 19-year-old suffered cardiac arrest during a summer workout and didn’t make his debut until Dec. 10 against Long Beach State following a procedure to correct a congenial heart defect.

James announced last month that he was entering his name in both the NBA Draft and the NCAA transfer portal. In his freshman season at USC, James averaged 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 25 games. James has until May 29 to officially decide if he wants to stay in the draft or return for his sophomore season of college basketball.

Lebron James previously spoke publicly about his desire to play with his son but has since walked that back.

“That’s a young man who will decide what he wants to do and I ain’t going to say where to go,” LeBron said of his son. “I just think the fact that we are even having the conversation is pretty cool in the sense of that, but we will see what happens.”

The Lakers have the Nos. 17 and 55 picks in the draft. James is currently being mocked to the Lakers at No. 55 in multiple mock drafts.

“I don’t value a young player getting into the lottery as much as I do getting him on the right team in the right developmental situation,” James’ agent, Rich Paul, told ESPN.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said that if James is drafted, he would likely spend his first professional season in the G League.

“Rich Paul’s goal here in the pre-draft process for Bronny James is to see if there’s the right developmental organization… If he does go in the draft, he very likely would spend next year in the G League,” Wojnarowski said. “That’s the priority for them as a family. What’s best for Bronny James? If it ends up them together, that would be great, but I don’t get a sense it’s playing much of any role in LeBron James’ decision on next season.”

The 20-time NBA All-Star holds a $51.4 million dollar player option with the Lakers next season.

While James’ college statistics don’t scream that he’s an NBA caliber player, some scouts are high on his potential as a perimeter defender.

“Bronny projects as a 3-and-D guard who plays hard, makes good decisions on offense, does the little things,” Sam Vecenie of The Athletic wrote in his scouting report. “He is a terrific defensive player who fights at the point of attack and has the length and foot speed to stick with most guards. James’ offense is a work in progress. He struggled to generate any halfcourt paint touches this year and isn’t much of a pull-up shooter yet.”

James shot just 26.7% from three and 36.6% from the field so it will be interesting to see if any team takes a flier on him in the draft next month.

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