The Los Angeles Lakers are running out of roster spots, but expect the team to save one for veteran forward Jared Dudley.
While Dudley has not been essential due to his on-court contributions over the last two seasons, he has become a valued member of the organization for his leadership qualities and ability to rally the team together.
There’s a common sentiment from NBA insiders that the Lakers are saving a roster spot for Dudley.
“I believe the Lakers will bring back Jared Dudley,” Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus tweeted. “I also expect the last two roster spots will either be Exhibit 10 invites — or if an opportunity comes up similar to Kemba to NYK, someone interesting bought out/waived.”
Veteran NBA reporter Marc Stein believes the same, especially considering the salary cap jam the Lakers are in.
“You have to believe Jared Dudley comes back,” Stein said. “The other two spots will probably be minimum signings.”
While he doesn’t have a contract with the Lakers for next season, Dudley has been working hard for the team. He was reportedly part of the now-infamous meeting between LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook that led to the blockbuster deal and was also caught recruiting Dwight Howard on social media.
Jared Dudley Expected to Return to Lakers
Dudley said during his exit interview on June 4 that he felt 1000% that he’d be back with the Lakers.
“There were no problems these last few years since I’ve been in the locker room. No beef, not any problems, just good chemistry. When we won the chip it was phenomenal chemistry,” Dudley said. “That’s part of my job to make sure that happens. And if it doesn’t happen, then it means I did a poor job.”
He played just 6.8 minutes last season and is coming off an MCL tear that limited him to just 12 regular-season games. He returned for the postseason, but played just five minutes in the Lakers’ first-round series against the Suns.
“The MCL (tear and rehab) was the best thing for my career,” Dudley said. “Which sounds crazy, but it helped me take a look at my nutrition, and how I rehab, and my dedication in the weight room. I lost 20 pounds, my knee feels better, and while you guys might laugh, I’m out here dunking more than I ever have. So in the sense of that, it’s about your mentality of how you want to attack it.”
Lakers Lose Out On Danny Green
The Lakers were in the mix Danny Green, but he declined to return to LA, instead re-upping on a two-year, $20 million deal per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Lakers were pursuing Green, per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.
“They (the Lakers) kind of want to get the band back together,” Haynes reported earlier this week. “Sources told me that Danny Green is a player they’re pursuing, and Dwight Howard.”
Green is a veteran shooter who can defend and would have played a key role for the Lakers. While he had his slumps wearing purple and gold — particularly in the postseason — he shot over 40% from 3-point range with the Sixers last season. He played 28 minutes per game in Philadelphia, starting all 69 games he played in.