Bronny James declares for NBA Draft, enters transfer portal after 1 season at USC

Bronny James is potentially one-and-done, but will definitely be moving on from USC next season.

The eldest son of Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James announced Friday his intentions to declare for the 2024 NBA Draft while also maintaining his college eligibility and entering the NCAA transfer portal after a single season with the Trojans.

According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, James will "work out for and visit NBA teams and make a draft decision based on evaluation."

James joined USC as a four-star recruit and the No. 27 overall prospect in the Class of 2023 as ranked by Rivals. He will exit the program with an unclear basketball future.

The start of his freshman season was delayed after he suffered cardiac arrest during a preseason workout, leading to the diagnosis of a congenital heart defect. After debuting in December, James only averaged 4.8 points in 19.3 minutes per game for a USC team that struggled all season. The Trojans went 15-18 despite boasting No. 1 overall recruit Isaiah Collier and finished ninth in the Pac-12. Head coach Andy Enfield left for SMU earlier this week.

All of that has left James with a number of paths forward. The most notable is a jump to the NBA, as his father has been openly awaiting for years. Bronny James didn't exactly look ready to face the best players in the world as a freshman, but it has been widely speculated a team might take a chance on him just for the possibility of luring his father, who holds a player option with the Lakers for next season and could opt for free agency.

Southern Californiaguard Bronny James (6) dribbles the ball against Washington during the first half an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
Bronny James' freshman season at USC did not go as planned. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)

The younger James was reported last month to be planning to make his 2024 NBA Draft decision based on the interest of specific teams. There's no telling, at least for now, how that will play out, though it seems quite likely James will spend plenty of time in the G League before he becomes a legitimate NBA rotation player.

Entering the portal also means we don't know where James will play if he opts to remain in college. Enfield's SMU could be a possibility, as could Oregon and Ohio State, two Big Ten schools that were finalists for James as a high schooler.