Though he didn’t score a lot of points or grab a ton of rebounds, Jared Dudley was a very important member of the Los Angeles Lakers over the last two seasons. This offseason, it appeared as if he’d get the chance to play with the team for one more season. That won’t end up being the case.
The veteran forward has accepted an assistant coaching job with the Dallas Mavericks and seemingly has ended his playing career. It’s unclear if the Lakers would’ve brought him back as a player but they can’t blame Dudley for securing his future career. He’ll leave a leadership void with the team.
LeBron James brings plenty of leadership on his own but he appeared pretty devastated that Dudley is leaving Los Angeles. The superstar reacted to the news in an NSFW tweet.
Dudley and LeBron clearly formed a strong bond during their time together on the Lakers. The two will be seeing plenty of each other this upcoming season but it will be as opponents and not as teammates.
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Dudley Sends Message to Lakers
Dudley is off to join Jason Kidd in Dallas but he’ll always be part of the Lakers’ history despite only being with the team for a short time. He sent a message to the Lakers, LeBron, Anthony Davis and team owner Jeanie Buss after the news broke.
He pointed out that he would not have a ring if it weren’t for Davis and LeBron. That’s true as Dudley was only able to win one championship throughout a 14-year career. While he won’t get a ton of credit for the Lakers’ most recent championship, he certainly played a role in helping them get there.
Lakers Should Have Plenty of Leadership to Fill the Void
Dudley was a valuable leader for the Lakers to have and will miss his presence. However, they should be just fine. The team added a lot of veterans this year and already had plenty of leadership coming from LeBron.
Players like Russell Westbrook also bring a lot of leadership to Los Angeles but he won’t be able to bring what Dudley brought to the table. Trevor Ariza and Dwight Howard have been in the NBA for a very long time and won’t likely play a lot of minutes. They should help replace what Dudley brought to the table. The Lakers also have some roster spots left. With Dudley gone, they could look to add another veteran presence who doesn’t need to play a ton of minutes.
That said, the Lakers are much older now and won’t need as much veteran leadership. A player like Isaiah Thomas or Darren Collison could be appealing to sign this late in the offseason. There is no shortage of players who would like to play in Los Angeles and compete for a championship this upcoming season.