Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka was very clear in what he was targeting in filling out the roster around LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
They wanted to add shooting, defensive toughness, versatility, and good teammates as Jared Dudley checks all of those boxes.
Entering his 13th NBA season, Dudley is a tough player who can defend most bigs and is a career 39.2% three-point shooter. Additionally, he has long been a favorite of many of his teammates that he’s come across throughout his career.
Dudley is also known as one of the more outspoken players in the league and he made it clear that the Lakers brand — something many have said doesn’t hold the same weight it once did — played a big role in his decision to come to Los Angeles.
“If the Clippers would’ve offered me, I wouldn’t have gone there, I would’ve gone back to Brooklyn,” Dudley said in a conference call.
“So obviously it wasn’t just Southern California. I think it’s the opportunity to compete for a championship, opportunity to play with LeBron James and Anthony Davis and, let’s be honest, the Lakers brand. It’s probably the biggest brand in all of sports; them and the Yankees.”
Dudley is a Southern California native, being born and raised in San Diego before heading to Boston College. Regardless of whether it has the same impact it did in prior years, the Lakers brand does still mean something, and Dudley is already seeing the difference in social media.
“Since I’ve been a Laker in my one week, when it comes to social media, it’s nothing I’ve ever experienced,” he noted. “It just shows you how big the brand is. My mom was a huge Laker fan, to be able to have my dad and my mom and my brother drive up from San Diego to catch games, that has a huge influence. But I think being able to compete for a championship was No. 1 for me, especially being in the back nine of my career.”
Dudley has yet to win a championship in his career and coincidentally it was the Lakers who ended his best chance at doing so in the 2010 Western Conference Finals when he was a member of the Phoenix Suns. Dudley has high hopes of what his time in Los Angeles can bring — and he has reason to.
Dudley is an ideal fit on this team in numerous ways and he’ll contribute in every way possible.