NCAA Basketball: Southern California at Washington State

USC freshman guard Bronny James will make his looming 2024 NBA Draft decision with team interest and situation taking precedence over his projected draft position, his agent, Klutch Sports' Rich Paul, said in an interview with ESPN. James, the eldest son of Lakers superstar LeBron James, was a highly-rated four-star recruit in the 2023 recruiting class out of Sierra Canyon High School who has appeared in 20 games for the Trojans this season while averaging 5.3 points, 2.4 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game. 

"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," Paul, Klutch Sports' CEO and the agent of both of LeBron's sons and LeBron himself, told ESPN.

James was ranked by 247Sports as a top-30 player in his class after a stellar senior season at Sierra Canyon thriving as a facilitator, scorer and defensive weapon. He was a projected lottery pick and top-15 prospect in the CBS Sports prospect rankings entering the summer before suffering sudden cardiac arrest during a workout in August. James has since been cleared after being diagnosed with, and treated for, a congenital heart defect. 

USC (12-17) has struggled this season after being ranked as a preseason top 25 team, and James, coming off the cardiac arrest event that caused him to miss most of November and December, is not currently projected to be a first-round pick in 2024. However, if you read between the lines from Paul's comments, it certainly sounds as if he may be okay with falling to a better spot that fits him as opposed to being drafted highly to a team that might not offer the best situation for him developmentally. 

LeBron for years has been open about his dream of teaming up with his son in the NBA, so it certainly would seem that dream is still in play. And while that isn't necessarily what Paul and the James family are scheming here -- Paul told ESPN he wants Bronny to "be his own man" -- it's clear everyone involved would be thrilled about Bronny and LeBron being on the same team in 2024. 

"It's up to him," LeBron said recently on Bronny's draft status. "It's up to the kid. Obviously we gonna go through the whole process. He's still in season now, has the Pac-12 tournament coming up. ... We gonna weigh our options, and we gonna let the kid make the decision."

Earlier this week, LeBron deleted a pair of tweets chastising the media over speculation that has come from Bronny's placement in mock drafts. LeBron in his posts downplayed the importance and impact of mock drafts and pleaded for people to let his son be a college kid.

"Can yall please just let the kid be a kid and enjoy college basketball," James tweeted. "The work and results will ultimately do the talking no matter what he decides to do. If y'all don't know he doesn't care what a mock draft says, he just WORKS! Earned Not Given!"

USC defeated Washington on the road Saturday 82-75. Bronny played 14 minutes in the win and finished with zero points, three rebounds and two assists.