Bronny James Contacted by Australia's NBL; LeBron's Son Eyes Ohio State, USC, Oregon

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 24, 2023

Sierra Canyon's Bronny James #0 is seen against Christopher Columbus during a high school basketball game at the Hoophall Classic, Monday, January 16, 2023, in Springfield, MA. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)
AP Photo/Gregory Payan

The owner of Australia's National Basketball League confirmed there have been conversations with representatives for Bronny James about bringing him into the league.

"We have absolutely reached out," Larry Kestelman said to the Herald Sun (h/t the NBL's official website). "But it's very early days. It's a long shot, but the conversation has begun and we'll be in the mix."

While James hasn't decided on his pathway to the NBA, the Los Angeles Times' Luca Evans reported the 18-year-old has narrowed his potential colleges to Ohio State, Oregon and USC.

In recent years, the NBL has made a concerted effort to attract highly rated high schoolers from overseas, giving the players an alternative to the college route. Poaching LaMelo Ball and R.J. Hampton, two blue-chippers from the 2019 recruiting class, was a coup for the league.

Players in James' position have no shortage of options, however, if they prefer to eschew the traditional road map to the NBA. There's the NBA G League Ignite, Overtime Elite or any professional league abroad. The advent of the NIL era has also provided opportunities to be compensated while playing in college.

That last thing could be the biggest consideration for James.

The 6'3" guard is the No. 33 overall player in 247Sports' composite rankings for the 2023 class. Purely on talent alone, he'd be in a great position to collect lucrative NIL deals at a traditional powerhouse.

Thanks to his family name, James can probably earn more than any college athlete. On3 pegged his NIL valuation at $7.5 million, more than double the next closest player (Texas quarterback Arch Manning).

Should James and his family prefer to remove him from the spotlight a bit before he heads to the NBA, the NBL would be a great avenue.

Ball was the No. 3 overall pick in 2020 and went on to win Rookie of the Year. Josh Giddey, another NBL graduate, was selected sixth overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2021 and has shown a lot of promise through his first two years. James could solidify his 2023 draft stock in Australia.

But he can do the same thing by staying stateside and committing to a major college program.