Bronny James will spend 2023 in college, G-League or Australia, report says

Bronny James is expected to make himself eligible for the 2024 NBA Draft, which falls one year after his high school graduation. What he plans to do in the year between graduating from high school and the draft, however, remains somewhat of a mystery. The Athletic’s Joe Vardon listed three possibilities: the traditional college basketball path, a stint with G-League Ignite or, more surprisingly, a gap year playing in the NBL in Australia.

This path is not new. Several American prospects have taken this route through the league’s Next Stars program, with LaMelo Ball being its best-known alum. The main question any team or league will face when recruiting James will be who is best positioned to develop him for the NBA.

There is no clear answer to this question yet. James has slipped in his class ranking over the past few years. 247Sports now ranks him 50th in the Class of 2023, and he has no official offers. While it’s not uncommon for a player in this position to reach the NBA organically, this caliber of prospect tends to do best as a multi-year college player. All indications for now suggest that James is heading to the NBA as soon as possible.

His father, LeBron James, has hinted in the past that he wants his son to go to Duke…but with a catch. In 2018, he said of former Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski “I hope he’s still at the helm when my boy comes along.” The elder James played twice for Coach K at the Olympics, but the former Duke coach retired after the 2021 NCAA Tournament. This would apparently open up Bronny’s recruitment slightly.

The James family’s plan has always been for both LeBrons to spend at least one season on the same team in the NBA. The hope would apparently be that they do so in Los Angeles with the Lakers, but it should be noted that James became eligible for a contract extension on Thursday but did not sign one. He can become a free agent next offseason if he chooses, and of course, a team hoping to sign James could just draft Bronny before the Lakers get the chance.

It’s an issue the James family will have to tackle in 2024. For now, the question is how he should spend the season between high school and the NBA. There’s no clear answer yet, but if Australia suddenly gets in on the action, they could consider a wide range of options.

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