Lakers Signing Bronny James to Unusual Rookie Deal

The Los Angeles Lakers drafting Bronny James last week already ruffled some feathers, however, his latest contract update is bound to raise even more eyebrows.
Bronny James' rookie contract is an unorthodox deal for a second-round pick.
Bronny James' rookie contract is an unorthodox deal for a second-round pick. / David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers fulfilled the prophecy by using the 2024 NBA Draft's No. 55 overall selection on Bronny James last week. The decision reunited the former USC product with his dad, LeBron, making them the first-ever father-son duo to play together in league history.

But while the situation is a feel-good story for some, that isn't the case for everyone. Bronny's lack of college production had many questioning if he was good enough to play in the NBA, chalking up his selection as a means to convince LeBron to remain with the Lakers. After all, there's a chance that the 19-year-old may have gone undrafted if his last name wasn't James.

While it's still too early to judge Bronny on an NBA career that hasn't officially begun, the latest news on his rookie contract is bound to upset more of his doubters.

Lakers News: Bronny James to Receive Guaranteed Rookie Contract

According to NBA insider Shams Charania, the Lakers are signing Bronny to a multi-year, fully guaranteed rookie contract ahead of the 2024-25 season.

If the 20-time NBA All-Star's son was a first-round selection, no one would bat an eye at the news. However, Bronny's status as a second-round pick has left many basketball enthusiasts puzzled by the latest news.

For those unfamiliar with the draft, first-round picks are locked into four-year deals with the team that drafted them. Conversely, second-rounders can sign a variety of contracts. The NBA introduced a second-round pick exception during last year's CBA update that allows teams to sign their Round 2 draftees to three- or four-year contracts with the final season in each deal being a team option.

Judging by Charania's report, it sounds like the Lakers plan to use the second-round pick exception on Bronny.

The ex-Trojan will face a ton of pressure next season regardless of what kind of contract he signs. The younger James must find a way to prove himself after averaging just 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 0.8 steals while shooting 36.6% from the field and 26.7% from deep across 25 games (6 starts) at USC last season. He's a decent defender, but that might not be good enough to keep him in the NBA if he can't develop a reliable jump shot.

Some Lakers fans think Bronny should spend time in the NBA G League next season, but that likely won't happen if he signs the rumored deal. While those who've played fewer than three seasons can be assigned to "G League affiliates an unlimited number of times," Bronny's lack of a two-way deal means he'd still occupy an NBA roster spot even if he's sent to South Bay.

Hopefully, Bronny lives up to the hype that LeBron & Co. have put around him. Although there's plenty of room for growth, the haters won't have much to say if he exceeds expectations by becoming a reliable piece of Los Angeles' rotation next season and beyond.

Speaking of the 2024-25 campaign, the Lakers currently hold the ninth-best odds (+3000) to hoist the Larry O'Brien Trophy next spring, per FanDuel Sportsbook.