Bronny James, LeBron’s Teen Son, Picked By Lakers In NBA Draft

(AFP) — Bronny James, the 19-year-old son of Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James, was selected 55th overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in Thursday’s second round of the NBA Draft.

Four-time NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James, the 39-year-old Lakers playmaker who is a four-time NBA champion, has said he would like to play alongside his son next season — in what would be the first father-son combination in NBA history.

James, a guard for the University of Southern California, averaged 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists for the Trojans last season after a stellar high school career and also impressed scouts at an NBA combine.

At a practice session last July, USC freshman James collapsed after suffering cardiac arrest caused by a congenital heart defect.

The teenager was released from the hospital a few days later and doctors approved him playing both in US college basketball and, last month, in the NBA.

The younger James is seen as a top defensive prospect with elite athletic skills and strong instincts for the game but might need time to develop fully as an NBA player.

LeBron James has until Saturday to opt into the final year of his Lakers contract or become a free agent, which would not stop him from re-signing a new Lakers deal.

ESPN reported that agent Rich Paul was warning teams ahead of the Lakers in the picking order that Bronny James would play in Australia rather than deal with some clubs.

The Lakers owned the fourth-to-last NBA Draft selection and there was concern other clubs might use a higher pick on James, to see if they could swing a trade deal with the Lakers for James or the pick.

The Phoenix Suns, who didn’t own a second-round pick due to a free agency tampering violation, were the only team other than the Lakers to have a workout with Bronny James ahead of the draft.

– ‘It means everything’ –
France’s Zaccharie Risacher was taken on Wednesday with the top overall pick in the NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks.

International prospects taken early in the second round included 19-year-old Australian swingman Johnny Furphy, selected 35th by San Antonio but reportedly being traded to Indiana, and 20-year-old Spanish guard Juan Nunez, a passing maestro for Germany’s Ulm taken 36th by Indiana.

Swedish forward Bobi Klintman was taken 37th by Minnesota but was expected to be traded to Detroit. He averaged 9.7 points and 4.8 rebounds a game for the Cairns Taipans of the Australian league last season.

Belgian guard Ajay Mitchell went 38th to New York but was expected to be traded to Oklahoma City.

Adem Bona, a Nigerian center, was taken 41st by the Philadelphia 76ers and figures to back up Cameroonian star big man Joel Embiid.

“It means everything to me to be standing here right now,” Bona said.

Serbian forward Nikola Djurisic was taken by Miami at 43rd but expected to be sent to Atlanta while Swedish guard Pelle Larsson went 44th to Houston.

French forward Melvin Ajinca, who turned 20 on Monday, went to New York with the 51st selection. He averaged 9.7 points in the French league last season.

Quinten Post, a 7-foot (2.13m) Dutch center, went 52nd to Golden State but was expected to be traded to Oklahoma City.

Ulrich Chomche, an 18-year-old forward from Cameroon, went to Memphis with the 57th pick and Dallas took German center Ariel Hukporti with the 58th and last pick.