Veteran Player Makes Definitive Statement on Potential Lakers Return

jared dudley

Getty Los Angeles Lakers bench.

Heading into the offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers have a lot of potential free agents. Considering they just won a title, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they tried to retain most of those players. However, there could be a number of guys who decide to walk.

One player who we might be able to rule out from leaving is Jared Dudley. He was only on a one-year deal with the team and didn’t play much but he became an important leader on the bench. Obviously, a lot can happen but Dudley made it clear that he’d like to return.

“It’s just such a perfect marriage between me and the Lakers,” Dudley told Lakers Nation. “It’s a championship team that you need veteran experience on the bench. … it’s good to have vets towards the end that can help out. I would love to be back with the Lakers … in the back of my mind, I expect it but you just never know how business goes.”

Dudley isn’t a guy who is going to get a lot of minutes but he does have a ton of experience. He might not be the Lakers’ priority free agent signing but he should get the chance to return to the team.

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Dudley Dishes on Other Lakers Free Agents

Dudley is far from the only Laker who needs a new contract. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Rajon Rondo are expected to opt-out of their contracts while Dwight Howard and Markieff Morris are free agents. All four of those guys played important roles in the playoffs for the Lakers but it might be hard to keep all of them.

“We would love everybody back,” Dudley said of the Lakers. “Is it realistic every single person comes back? No. We know how this business is, but you want to keep the core eight to 10 players that have the culture of this [team] and keep it going.”

What the Lakers did last season clearly worked and it would be wise to try to replicate that success. That said, the team doesn’t have infinite money and teams around them are sure to get better. That likely means there are some really tough decisions on the horizon for the Lakers.

Who Should the Lakers Really Try to Keep?

Out of all the free agents the Lakers have, Caldwell-Pope should be the one they try the hardest to keep. He became a very important piece in the Finals and the Lakers might not bring home the championship without him. Thanks to his playoff performance, he’s earned himself a big payday. It remains to be seen if Los Angeles can afford him but they’re likely to at least try.

The Lakers will probably try to keep Rondo, as well. Though his effectiveness in the regular season is questionable, those longer any doubt that he steps up his game in the playoffs. However, it’s going to be hard to give a big contract to a guy who doesn’t perform well in the regular season. In terms of Dwight Howard and Markieff Morris, it remains to be seen what the Lakers might do with them.

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