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Bronny James is staying in the NBA draft, agent Rich Paul announces

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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.

Bronny 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,” Bronny James said at the NBA draft combine after getting that clearance and taking part in workouts.

Bronny 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.

The draft is June 26-27.

LeBron James, who can become a free agent this summer, will be entering his 22nd NBA season this fall. If Bronny James plays in the NBA next season, they would be the first father-son duo in the league simultaneously as players. There have been about 100 instances in NBA history of players joining the league after their fathers played, but none at the same time.

LeBron James said many times in recent years that he would like to play in the league alongside his son, and it certainly remains a possibility that a team that drafts Bronny James might do so with hopes of luring his father to that roster.

“The kid has to do what he wants to do — and I don’t even want to say kid no more — the young man will decide what he wants to do and how he wants his career to go,” LeBron James said when the Lakers’ season ended earlier this spring.

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AP Sports Writer Tom Withers in Cleveland contributed to this report.

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA

By TIM REYNOLDS
AP Basketball Writer

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