After spending 14 years in the NBA, Jared Dudley finally won his first championship with the Los Angeles Lakers last season. Even though his days as an impact player on the court are in the past, he’s become an important member of the team. This season, he’s played in six of 19 games and is averaging a career-low 3.7 minutes per game.
He may not play much anymore but he still enjoys being on a team. Dudley has taken on an important leadership role for the Lakers and is effectively another assistant coach. At 35-years-old, he’s getting near the age that players like himself start to think about retirement. Dudley recently appeared on Danny Green’s Insider the Green Room and revealed that he’d at least like to play one more year in the NBA:
When I was a kid in junior high, high school and going into college and stuff like that, my goal was to play 10 years in the NBA. And it’s so funny because when you get to the NBA, most people don’t know this, 10 years is the full, max pension, so it makes sense, right? If you play 20 years, doesn’t matter, you get the same pension from 10 to 20 …
Now, what people don’t realize is the older you get, it’s not really about you, it’s about your family and your kids. So I have a youngest son who’s nine. A daughter who’s 11, another daughter who’s six. My son, I’m trying to somewhat inspire him, so I would love to play one more year, 15, hopefully we can get this coronavirus gone and get fans (back). I want him one last year so he knows that I couldn’t do more than that, sometimes they boot you out, they might try to boot me out this year.
But I just think that you need vets to be able to help out in the locker room, man, and I think if it’s not with the Lakers, I believe there is a team out there that will respect what I can do and help that locker room, and I would love to see my son maybe even travel to some games. I want my last hurrah, him to be heavily, heavily involved.
Based on what Dudley’s saying, he wouldn’t be opposed to playing for another if the Lakers don’t want him back. That said, Los Angeles doesn’t pay him much and he brings a lot of leadership to the team. If he wants to stick with his current team for one more season, it’s hard to imagine they wouldn’t run it back with him one more time.
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Dudley Does Have Career Goals in NBA
While Dudley’s career as a player appears to be winding down, we’ll probably still be seeing plenty of him when he calls it a quits. He’s got one of the best personalities in the NBA and a career in TV seems like a very natural fit. However, it sounds like he has other plans. Dudley told Green that he’d like to get into coaching or general managing.
“It’s coach or GM, that’s what it is,” Dudley said. “I’m leaning towards coaching just because if you get fired, you can be an assistant. I could go into TV. General manager is a little different. I would prefer to be able to control the team like a general manager, but it’s different because once you get fired from being a GM, can you be an assistant GM? It’s tough, man, and you’ve got to work your way up, just like coaching.”
Dudley Makes Sense as a Coach
At this stage in his career, it’s impossible to know if Dudley would be capable as a general manager. He’s a good leader but that doesn’t mean he knows how to put together contracts or evaluate young talent and how they’d fit on a specific roster.
Coaching would make a lot of sense for Dudley. He’s already demonstrated a high level of selflessness and leadership in his current stint with the Lakers. There are probably plenty of teams around the NBA that would bring in Dudley as an assistant when he retires.