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Lakers’ JJ Redick introduces Bronny James

                                Los Angeles Lakers second round draft pick Bronny James at today’s press conference at the UCLA Health Training Center.
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Los Angeles Lakers second round draft pick Bronny James at today’s press conference at the UCLA Health Training Center.

With LeBron James expected back for his 22nd season, the Los Angeles Lakers are breaking NBA norms by guaranteeing the rookie contract for second-round draft pick Bronny James.

Bronny James, drafted 55th overall, and first-round pick Dalton Knecht were introduced by the Lakers today.

“Everything’s just been surreal,” Bronny James said at a press conference alongside Knecht, head coach JJ Redick and general manager Rob Pelinka. “Just trying to take it all in by the days. I’m extremely grateful for everything that JJ and Rob have given to me. I’ve been extremely excited to get to work.”

Redick corrected Bronny James’ assertion that he was “given anything.”

“I want to clarify one thing you just said: Rob and I did not give Bronny anything. Bronny has earned this. Bronny talks about his hard work. Bronny has earned this through his hard work,” Redick said. “There’s a lot to like about his game. As we sort of build out our player development program holistically, he’s going to have a great opportunity to become an excellent NBA player.”

Typically, contracts for second-round draft picks aren’t guaranteed. The Athletic reported Bronny James is signing a multiyear contract and will start his career on the Lakers’ roster.

LeBron James attended the press conference with his arms folded, standing far clear of cameras, with the Lakers awaiting his next move.

LeBron James declined his option for 2024-25 but is expected to re-sign with the Lakers. According to reports, the hold up in signing LeBron is the Lakers’ mission to add another experienced veteran. ESPN reported LeBron told general manager Rob Pelinka he would take less money if Los Angeles can sign a quality free agent, such as DeMar DeRozan.

Bronny James, a guard, played 25 games in college at Southern California after suffering cardiac arrest during a summer workout last July. He was seen as a fringe second-round pick and was highly expected to join his future Hall of Fame father in Los Angeles.

Bronny James, 19, had private workouts with only the Lakers and the Phoenix Suns before the draft.

Pelinka said in a statement, “In the history of the NBA, there’s never been a father and a son that have shared an NBA basketball court and that feels like something that could be magical. We know, and have to respect of course, that LeBron has a decision (due by Saturday) on his opt-out … but if it worked out that he was on our team next season, NBA history could be made. And NBA history should be made in a Lakers uniform.”

The Lakers’ other superstar, Anthony Davis, endorsed the club selecting his teammate’s son.

“He’s very good defensively,” Davis said of Bronny James to ESPN. “He can read the floor very well. I think he’s a really good playmaker. I saw him work out a couple times besides the (Klutch Sports) pro day and working with a big — his reads, reading the defense, making the right passes — that was really impressive to me. I think he’s going to be fine, man. Obviously it’s a lot of pressure on him with his dad being who he is.”

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