Bronny James' NBA Draft stock continues to be a hotly debated topic among the league and fans. There are those who passionately believe his defense and instincts can quickly translate to the next level, while many others think he is a second-round pick at best. Even if the latter does end up holding true, however, his agent is intent on protecting his client.

Rich Paul, the founder of Klutch Sports Group, is firm on his stance that James will not sign a two-way contract. “Yes, that's absolutely true,” he said in an interview with Bleacher Report's Chris Haynes. “Teams know that. I'm not doing that.”

Despite questions about the 19-year-old's offensive acumen, size and overall preparedness, Paul is clearly not interested in letting James spend a considerable amount of his rookie season in the G League. There are surely teams who think that taking the former USC guard can help them lure LeBron James in free agency, so Bronny's camp could have some leverage.

The decision to declare for the 2024 NBA Draft is not final, with the younger James retaining his college eligibility in case his pro valuation is unfavorable. Thus, if Rich Paul is not happy with the demand Bronny James is attracting around The Association, he could simply advise him to return to school.

A productive sophomore campaign would effectively remove any mention of a two-way deal. In the meantime, though, this decision will only increase the chatter and speculation surrounding the most famous athlete in this class. And unfortunately, it will also increase the already immense pressure that is on him to succeed.

Bronny James is betting on himself ahead of the 2024 NBA Draft

Bronny James (50) participates in drills during the 2024 NBA Draft Combine at Wintrust Arena.
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The former McDonald's All-American notably struggled in his freshman season with USC, scoring 4.8 points on 36.6 percent shooting in 19.3 minutes per game. However, plenty of scouts are clinging to the belief that James' health (went into cardiac arrest last July) and a logjam of guards factored into the underwhelming numbers.

His strong showing at the NBA Combine is further emboldening supporters to prognosticate good things for James' future. He shot the ball extremely well from behind the 3-point line and impressed observers with his 40.5-inch vertical leap. Those flashes of skill and athleticism may not translate to actual in-game competition, though.

And so, the debate continues. But there does not seem to be any hesitation on Rich Paul's part. He is treating his client like a prospect who is ready to make an NBA impact from the onset. That is what any good agent does, but completely ruling out the idea of a two-way contract is not an optimal public relations situation.

Some fans will accuse Bronny James of overestimating his ability and strong-arming his way into the league. Consequently, media attention will rise to even greater heights. This narrative is not new for him, but it could add unneeded distractions. If James stays in the NBA Draft and enjoys a solid rookie year, then he will look brilliant for betting on himself.

In any case, the James family probably appreciates the confidence Paul is displaying through his actions. Time will tell if it is justified, or if Bronny would be better served by undergoing additional development.