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Does the Lakers’ father-son duo shake things up in the Jordan-LeBron GOAT discussion

Bronny James is officially heading to the NBA. Does that mean father-son teammates are in store?

While LeBron James has made conflicting comments about how important it is to play in the NBA alongside his son, there’s no doubt the idea is exciting for the NBA legend. No father has ever shared an NBA floor with his son as players, whether on the same team or as opponents. That means the duo will likely make history regardless of whether they are on the same team.

The elder James is expected to enter free agency, which could either complicate the likelihood that he plays with his son or perhaps make it easier to join forces.

Will LeBron James play with Bronny James?

LeBron James’ agent, Rich Paul, has insisted that his client plans to opt out and test free agency. That means it’s no guarantee that James will play with his son on the Lakers, but it would certainly catch the NBA by surprise if he didn’t return now that the pick has been made.

The Lakers already hired James’ friend and brief podcast co-host JJ Redick as their head coach. With Bronny now aboard and James comfortable in Los Angeles, it’s tough to imagine a more ideal situation for the 39-year-old than a return to the Lakers even after a disappointing playoff exit.

That doesn’t mean fans should necessarily expect the father-son duo to be sharing the floor every night. Bronny James didn’t look anything like a finished product at USC, particularly on the offensive end, and the Lakers have championship aspirations. The franchise can’t afford to give the young guard regular minutes just as charity if they are serious about winning; he would have to earn them.

If Bronny isn’t in the Lakers’ rotation, he could either spend a portion of the season developing in the G League or simply remain on Los Angeles’ bench as a reserve while learning from players who understand the grind of the NBA just as well as his father does.

Does LeBron James want to play with Bronny?

Any NBA father would want to play with his son, but it’s not clear that playing alongside Bronny is an absolute must for LeBron James.

James indicated more than a year ago that he would love to play alongside his son but explained that he would be satisfied whether he plays with him or against him.

“I need to be on the floor with my boy, I got to be on the floor with Bronny,” James told ESPN in 2023. “Either in the same uniform or a matchup against him.”

While James left both doors open, he said a father-son pairing on the same team would be “ideal for sure.”

However, reports this past spring indicated that James’ stance on playing alongside his son had softened.

“The idea of them playing together is not a priority,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported in May, adding that the idea is “not foremost” in the elder James’ mind.

One reason might have been Bronny’s tough season at USC, which likely made his path to regular NBA minutes as a rookie difficult regardless of where he lands. Bronny’s defense intrigued teams during the draft process, but his height and underdeveloped offensive game effectively put dreams of being selected in the first round of reach.

That doesn’t mean Bronny won’t develop into an NBA regular with the Lakers, but it does mean James might not share the floor with him often if they did end up as teammates.

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