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Agent Rich Paul says he wouldn't have Bronny James sign two-way contract - NBC Sports


2024 NBA Combine

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 15: Bronny James warms up during the 2024 NBA Combine on May 15, 2024 at Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2024 NBAE (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)

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Even Bronny James’ biggest supporters as he moves toward the NBA Draft admit he is a work in progress and needs development to be an NBA player. Here is what his agent, Rich Paul, told Chris Haynes of TNT/Bleacher Report.

“Is he a finished product? No, nowhere near. Most guys that come in our league aren’t at 18 and 19.”

For Bronny, development will mean time in the G-League. However, Paul wants Bronny on an NBA roster (he can still be assigned to the G-League), not on a two-way contract, which is something several scouts and front office people suggested as a path to NBC Sports. Paul was adamant about that in the interview.

BR: Is it true that you wouldn’t sign Bronny to a two-way contract?RP: Yes, that’s absolutely true. Teams know that. I’m not doing that.

If a two-way were the only path forward for Bronny, he could still return to college in the transfer portal — but he will have other options.

He very likely will hear his name called during the NBA Draft. Paul says in this interview that teams have told him Bronny could go anywhere from the 20s to undrafted; most league sources NBC Sports have spoken with have seen him as a second-round pick if he is drafted. As Paul said, all it takes is one team.

Bronny is a legitimate prospect. He has a high IQ and NBA athleticism and already looks like a good perimeter defender. He also has a long way to go before becoming an NBA player. The knocks on him out of the Combine are his size (6'1" without shoes), his shooting (which looked good at the NBA Draft Combine in drills but less so in games), and his ability to handle the ball and playmaker a little.

However, any discussion of Bronny the prospect has to include the impact of him being the son of LeBron James and how some teams might draft Bronny to try and gain favor with his father (maybe tempt LeBron to come and play with his son). While drafting Bronny does not mean LeBron is coming to play wherever, Paul said that, of course, Bronny is benefiting from his last name. Welcome to America.

“If his name was different, would he get a different treatment? Yes, probably so. Some may feel like he’s getting an opportunity because of his father, and I think that’s a very naive logic, especially in America. When you look at America as a whole, it’s built on nepotism. No one’s having this conversation about Jim Dolan. He owns the Knicks, but his dad built a business.”

What Paul is trying to do is land Bronny in the best space for him. That might be with the Lakers, who want to keep LeBron happy and would likely bring in Bronny to do it. Bronny is reportedly going to work out with the Suns, the Jazz have shown some interest, and there will be other teams.

The only thing that seems certain is that Bronny will likely be drafted — and he’s not signing a two-way contract.

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