Bronny James is keeping his name in the NBA draft, with the hopes of joining his father in the league next season.

“He’s a really good prospect who has a lot of room for growth,” Rich Paul, the CEO of Klutch Sports Group, told ESPN, which first reported the decision. Paul later confirmed the decision to The Associated Press.

LeBron James, Bronny’s father and the NBA’s all-time scoring leader, posted his reaction on his social media accounts, including one Instagram story that had the simple caption: “BRONNY STAYING IN DRAFT!” The decision was not unexpected, given that Bronny James had given no sign in recent weeks that he would exercise his option of returning to college and postponing his NBA plans.

James played one year of college basketball at Southern California and averaged 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game last season. He played in 25 games, missing the start of the season after needing a procedure last year to fix what was diagnosed as a congenital heart defect, which was found after he went into cardiac arrest during a summer workout.

A panel of doctors cleared James for NBA play earlier this month.

“I’m just trying to put in the work and see where it takes me,” James said at the NBA draft combine after getting that clearance and taking part in workouts.

James — who was listed at 6-foot-4 on USC’s roster but measured at 6 feet, 1 1/2 inches at the combine — announced his intention of entering the draft in April, with the caveat that he was also going into the transfer portal and maintaining his college eligibility. Early entry candidates for the draft had until 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday to decide whether they would stay in or return to college.

James seemed to impress draft evaluators at the combine earlier in May. His wingspan was measured at 6-foot-7 and he recorded a 40.5-inch max vertical jump. He knocked down 19 of 25 shots from beyond the arc in the 3-point shooting drill, posting the second-best score among the 71 participants at the combine. He also scored 13 points during a scrimmage at the combine.

With James staying in the NBA Draft, the attention turns to where he’ll end up. He has received workout invitations from 10 teams, but only plans to attend workouts with the Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Lakers, The Athletic reported Tuesday.

Regardless of which team drafts James, Paul said that his client will not sign a two-way deal, which limits players to just 45 days on an NBA roster.

“Bronny’s [draft] range is wide,” Paul told ESPN. “He’s a really good prospect who has a lot of room for growth. It only takes one team. I don’t care where that team is — it can be No. 1 or 58 — [but] I do care about the plan, the development, the team’s strategy, the opportunity and the financial commitment. That’s why I’m not doing a two-way deal. Every team understands that.”

James is one of “several players in consideration” to be selected by the Suns with the No. 22 overall pick, The Athletic reported earlier in May. Phoenix doesn’t have a second-round pick after losing it due to tampering violations.

Bronny James reportedly to visit select teams, including Lakers and Suns

The Lakers’ draft-pick situation isn’t entirely clear, but will be resolved in the upcoming days. The New Orleans Pelicans have until June 1 to decide whether they want the Lakers’ first-round pick in the 2024 NBA Draft or the 2025 NBA Draft. If the Pelicans opt not to take the Lakers’ pick in June’s draft, Los Angeles would hold the 17th overall pick. 

Los Angeles’ only other pick in the draft is the 55th selection, one of the final few of the draft.

The Lakers are “very open” to the idea of selecting James, in part to keep his father, LeBron James, with the organization, The Athletic reported in April. The elder James has a player option that allows him to become a free agent this offseason.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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