‘Brony deserves this,’ says JJ Redick, rookie signs 4-year deal with Lakers, sources say

‘Brony deserves this,’ says JJ Redick, rookie signs 4-year deal with Lakers, sources say

By Shams Charania, John Hollinger, Hunter Patterson, and Lauren Merola

Los Angeles Lakers rookie guard Bronny James said it’s been a “surreal” week since Los Angeles selected him with the 55th overall pick in the 2024 NBA draft on Thursday, during a pre-draft press conference with Dalton Knecht on Tuesday.

“I’m just trying to take it in,” James said. “I’m so grateful for everything JJ (Redick) and Robert (Pelinka) have given me and I’m so excited to get to work.”

In response, new Lakers coach JJ Redick said: “Robert and I didn’t give anything to Bronny. Bronny deserved this.”

Redick said the new players will participate in both the California Classic and the Las Vegas Summer League. The Lakers’ first game of the Summer League will be Saturday in San Francisco. The team will face the Sacramento Kings at 4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Knecht will wear No. 4, inspired by the new nickname “Connect 4”, and James will wear No. 9.

The Lakers selected Knecht with the 17th pick. The team asked to practice with the 6-foot-6, 212-pound wing during the draft, but his camp declined because it didn’t think he would be available in the middle of the first round. Redick said he also didn’t think Knecht would be around when it came time for the Lakers to play, but the 23-year-old brings something to the team that the Lakers “don’t have.”

“I know all the players and all the teams, but I’m excited to be here in the right place and excited to get to work here and go out and compete,” Knecht said.

James has signed a new four-year, $7.9 million contract with the Lakers that includes a team option in the fourth season, league sources said Wednesday.

James is set to join his father and all-time NBA leading scorer LeBron James — who plans to re-sign with Los Angeles — though he said it “never crossed my mind that I would play with my dad… that wasn’t the main focus for me.”

The Lakers also renewed guard Max Christie for four years and $32 million. With LeBron’s impending renewal, the Lakers will have the maximum of 15 players with guaranteed contracts.

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The move to sign the younger James limits Los Angeles’ flexibility and almost guarantees a trade will be required to add any new players.

The Lakers have a few ways to acquire new talent. If Los Angeles chooses to sign a player to a mid-level or lower non-taxpayer contract, it will have to make a deal to create a roster spot or go through a sign-and-trade process to return the player. The Lakers can also trade a player or players who are under contract with another team, as long as they send an equal or greater number of players in the deal.

Why does Bruni’s contract make sense?

It’s no surprise that the Lakers signed the younger James, though most late-round draft picks end up going either way. However, for tax teams, taking a late-round pick makes a lot of sense — we saw that with the Warriors’ Trayce Jackson-Davis and the Bucks’ Chris Livingston, the final two picks in the 2023 draft, a year ago. Committing the 14th-round pick to a player who makes the rookie minimum reduces the Lakers’ luxury tax penalty, and gives them nearly $1 million in additional wiggle room under the first apron, should that ever become an issue during the postseason. John Hollinger, Senior NBA Writer

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(Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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