ESPN: Lakers plan to use first-round pick in trade, not on Bronny James

LeBron James can opt out of the final year of his current contract with the Los Angeles Lakers and become a free agent this summer. What he decides to do will represent one of the first big dominoes to fall in the Lakers’ offseason.

Many, if not most, believe he will stay with the Lakers. However, given the power he wields between himself and his representation at Klutch Sports, he may ask the team to do him a favor or two for him to stay.

The superstar has stated his desire to play with his son Bronny on multiple occasions. With the younger James making himself eligible for this year’s NBA draft, it has led people to speculate whether L.A. would use a draft pick on him, perhaps even a first-round pick.

But Dave McMenamin of ESPN said on “The Rich Eisen Show” that using a draft pick, especially one in the first round, on the younger James isn’t something the Lakers want to do (at 17:20).

“I don’t think so,” McMenamin said. “So you look at the Lakers, they have the No. 17 pick in the first round, the No. 55 pick in the second round. If Bronny James stays in the NBA draft, he’s not going to be drafted in the range of 17 and he’s going to be off the board by 55.

“And with the value of that 17 pick—the true value I should say—being a potential trade asset for the Lakers being able to move three first-round picks on draft night potentially to acquire a big name ready to perform. Someone on the level of a Dejounte Murray, or a Trae Young, or a Donovan Mitchell, that pick will certainly not be used on anyone if they had their druthers, and it wouldn’t be used on Bronny James.

“And quite frankly, if you listen to LeBron’s messaging, really over about the last year-and-a-half, it hasn’t been, ‘I need to play with my son.’ It’s, ‘I need to share the NBA court with my son.’ And that can happen as opponents.”

Adrian Wojnarowski, another ESPN reporter, said recently that playing on the same team with his son isn’t really a top priority for the elder James.

Los Angeles is slated to have the No. 17 pick in June’s draft. But according to the terms of the Anthony Davis trade in 2019, the New Orleans Pelicans can take either its first-rounder this year or next year. It is believed they will elect to take L.A.’s 2025 first-rounder.

This summer, the Lakers can trade up to three first-round draft picks and offer additional pick swaps in order to acquire the type of third star player that could make them championship contenders. Perhaps that would be more enticing to James than getting to be teammates with his son.

Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire