The Los Angeles Lakers functioned like a family during the 2019-20 season, with all 15 members of the roster truly pulling in one direction.
Jared Dudley, who was one of the team’s first free-agent signings in the summer of 2019, proved to be an invaluable member of the bench unit. His veteran leadership and willingness to speak out was the perfect addition to L.A., even if Dudley rarely saw the court.
Now, the Lakers are faced with the task of taking a championship roster and attempting to improve it for a shot at going back-to-back in 2021. There is an expectation for several player options to be declined. Outside of Anthony Davis, there’s some uncertainty on who the Lakers may re-sign.
However, it appears Dudley is not someone they’ll have to worry about. Despite being a free agent, Dudley said that he will definitely re-sign with the Lakers, and would go as far as showing up at vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka’s house to make it happen, via the “Bill Simmons Podcast“:
“For one, I’m coming back. I’ll go on Rob Pelinka’s door and knock on his front door. They need me on that backside of the bench and in practices.”
It was obvious during the season that Dudley absolutely loved his role on the Lakers, and that the entire roster and front office appreciated him right back. Part of constructing a great roster is having players like Dudley who will accept a largely off-court role and take it in stride, pushing the players who actually see the court to be better every day.
There aren’t many players in the NBA who fit that type of role better than Dudley, and if he’s willing to continue being that guy — when he could likely get quality minutes on a rebuilding team — then the Lakers should jump at the opportunity.
Given the chemistry the Lakers had, it’s likely that they’ll simply try to bring back as many players as possible and run it back.
Rob Pelinka proud of how front office pivoted in 2019 free agency
After a failed attempt at signing Kawhi Leonard, the Lakers were able to put together the makings of a roster that would eventually win the championship.
“In free agency last year, obviously we made a run to acquire a max free agent, but we had a counter, we had a backup plan and I knew we had a way to pivot and build a team with the other players we were able to acquire,” Pelinka said.
“It worked out. It worked out well obviously. But it was hard work. It wasn’t just happenstance, ‘Oh, let’s go sign a bunch of guys.’ Our front office, I can’t take credit because we have a front office of a lot of incredibly hard-working, bright people in our basketball operations department, and it takes a village to have success, and all those people helping with that plan.
“It came together and here we are, we’re the ultimate with a 2020 championship.”
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