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New Lakers Head Coach JJ Redick Says Bronny James ‘Earned’ Spot on the Team

New Lakers Head Coach JJ Redick Says Bronny James ‘Earned’ Spot on the Team
JJ Redick. Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

After Bronny James’ selection in the second round of the NBA Draft raised questions about nepotism, his new head coach pushed back against the critics. 

“Bronny has earned this,” Los Angeles Lakers coach JJ Redick said at a team press conference Tuesday, July 2. Redick, 40, was announced as the franchise’s new head coach last month. 

The oldest son of LeBron James, Bronny, 19, was drafted by the Lakers with the 55th overall pick in the 2024 NBA Draft on June 27. 

Bronny entered the draft after one season at the University of Southern California, where he averaged 4.8 points per game. His college debut was delayed after suffering cardiac arrest during a July 2023 practice. 

New Lakers Head Coach JJ Redick Says Bronny James ‘Earned’ Spot on the Team
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With the selection, Bronny and LeBron, 39, became the first father-son duo in NBA history. 

Speaking on behalf of himself and Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, Redick said, “Rob and I did not give Bronny anything.”

“We view Bronny as case study one,” he continued, “because his base level of feel, athleticism, point-of-attack defender, shooting, passing, there’s a lot to like about his game. As we build out our player development program holistically, he’s going to have the opportunity to be an excellent NBA player.”

Bronny was on hand for the press conference and said he was “just trying to take it all in.”

“Extremely grateful for everything that JJ and Rob have given to me,” Bronny added, “and I’ve just been extremely excited to get to work.”

Still, Bronny admitted that he hasn’t been immune from hearing the chatter about his selection. 

New Lakers Head Coach JJ Redick Says Bronny James ‘Earned’ Spot on the Team
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“It’s for sure amplified the amount of pressure,” he said. “I’ve already seen it in media and on the internet and stuff talking about [how] I might not deserve an opportunity. But I’ve been dealing with stuff like this for my whole life. It’s nothing different. It’s more amplified for sure, but I can get through it.”

According to ESPN, Bronny signed a four-year, $7.9 million contract with the Lakers on Wednesday, July 3. The outlet also reported that, earlier in the day, LeBron signed a two-year, $102 million deal with the team. LeBron’s deal includes a player-option for the 2025-26 season, meaning he can reassess next offseason if he wants to return. 

Bronny will make his Lakers debut in the California Classic and Las Vegas summer leagues. The Lakers’ first summer league game is Saturday, July 6, against the Sacramento Kings at 4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

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