Bronny James opts for NBA Draft, enters transfer portal

Bronny James declares for NBA Draft after one year at USC. Could LeBron James' dream of playing with his son in the NBA come true?

LOS ANGELES — USC freshman Bronny James announced Friday that he has declared for the NBA Draft this summer.

James also entered the NCAA men’s basketball transfer portal, keeping his college eligibility open but signaling his departure from USC.

His decision comes the same week that USC coach Andy Enfield announced he leaving for Southern California. James made the announcement two hours before Eric Musselman was introduced as USC’s new coach.

“I’ve had a year with some ups and downs but all added to growth for me as a man, student and athlete,” he said in a statement. “I’ve made the decision to enter the NBA Draft while maintaining my college eligibility, and will also be entering the NCAA transfer portal. Thank you to USC for an amazing freshman year and as always thankful for my family, friends, doctors, athletic trainers and fans for their support.”

James, the eldest son of NBA star LeBron James, experienced a cardiac incident during practice last summer, preventing him from starting the season. James missed the first month of the regular season and made his debut on Dec. 10 against Long Beach State at the Galen Center.

Once he returned to the games, he struggled, averaging 4.8 points per game, 2.8 rebounds per game, 2.1 assists per game and shot 36.6% from the field and 26.7% on 3-pointers.

James will be meeting with teams and participating in workouts to evaluate his options before the May 31 deadline to stay in the draft. If James finds enough teams showing interest, he will remain in the draft.

Agent Rich Paul talked on his behalf a month ago on the potential move to the NBA after one season.

“I don’t value a young player getting into the lottery as much as I do getting him on the right team in the right developmental situation,” Paul said.

LeBron James responded Tuesday to early reports of Bronny’s decision, saying it was his son’s call to make.

“He has some tough decisions to make and when he’s ready to make those decisions he’ll let us all know,” LeBron James said. “But as his family, we’ll support whatever he does.”

LeBron James has often said his goal was to play on the same NBA team as Bronny before he retires.

Bronny James is likely to attract the attention of other colleges if he decides to return for another year. A USC spokesperson told The Sporting Tribune that the school had been informed from Bronny’s enrollment that he was a one-and-done player focused on the NBA.

His former teammate, Kobe Johnson, left the Trojans to join rival UCLA. James had met with UCLA before committing to USC, so that option may be open to him since he lives a few minutes away from the UCLA campus.

During his press conference, Musselman said he hasn’t spoken with James, but he planned to talk with him Friday.