BY Stephen Nartey, 4:40pm July 04, 2024,

Why Bronny James’ $7.9 million Lakers contract is very different from typical deals for a 55th pick

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/r Foxlifevisuals

The Los Angeles Lakers signed rookie Bronny James to a fully guaranteed four-year contract worth $7.9 million on Wednesday, as reported by ESPN. On the same day, his father, LeBron James, secured a $104 million extension with the team.

Bronny, 19, will earn nearly $1.2 million in his first year, with his salary increasing each year, culminating in a $2.48 million team option for the 2027-28 season. This deal is more lucrative than the contract signed by Isaiah Wong, the No. 55 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, with the Indiana Pacers, according to the New York Post. Wong signed a partially guaranteed two-way contract worth $559,782 with the Indiana Pacers.

However, Wong did not play in the NBA last season and is absent from the Pacers’ summer league roster, making him a likely free agent. The terms of Wong’s contract were influenced by predetermined slot values. In contrast, Bronny is receiving significant support and benefits from the Lakers as he prepares to follow in the footsteps of his father, LeBron James.

Second-round picks rarely receive fully guaranteed four-year deals; only three second-round players in 2023 secured a fully guaranteed contract for three years with a team option for the fourth, the Post reported.

The Lakers’ other 2023 second-round pick, Maxwell Lewis, taken at No. 40 overall, received a contract with the first two years guaranteed and the third year only partially guaranteed.

“Bronny has earned this. Bronny talks about his hard work. Bronny has earned this through hard, hard work,” Lakers coach JJ Redick said Tuesday.

“For us, prioritizing player development, we view Bronny as Case Study 1, because his base level of feel, athleticism, point of attack defender, shooting, passing. There’s a lot to like about his game and we sort of build out our player development program holistically, he’s going to have a great opportunity to become an excellent NBA player.”

Bronny faces a challenge in securing a spot in the Lakers’ rotation, which already includes guards Cam Reddish, Max Christie, Gabe Vincent, Austin Reaves, and Jalen Hood-Schifino.

He played 25 games for USC in 2023, averaging 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game, with only six starts.

Despite this, he impressed at the NBA Draft Combine, and his agent, Rich Paul, warned other teams that Bronny might opt to play in Australia if not drafted by the Lakers.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: July 4, 2024

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