Jared Dudley did not see the floor a lot for the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2019-20 season. However, his impact on the team cannot be overstated, as his veteran leadership not only helped the development of Kyle Kuzma, but also the institution of the “star in your role” mentality.
This was especially important during the bubble, which was a far tougher mental challenge than a physical one. Dudley was signed to a one-year veteran minimum in 2019-20. He was also one of the first players to sign with the Lakers following the acquisition of Anthony Davis.
This offseason, as a free agent again, Dudley took his time re-signing, but there was never much doubt where he would end up. Dudley has agree to another a one-year minimum deal with the Lakers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 30, 2020
The veteran forward certainly made it known that he wanted to return to L.A., saying at one point that he would go to vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka’s house with the contract in hand if he had to.
Dudley’s love for the Lakers and his leadership from a bench role tremendously helped last season, and could be even more impactful in 2020-21. With so many new players, Dudley can provide some continuity and development help for Kuzma and even Montrezl Harrell.
Dudley likely waited this long to sign in order to allow the team to build their roster freely without worrying about the hard cap. Anthony Davis has taken a similar approach with his eventual max contract.
Dudley believes fit in L.A. is a perfect marriage
Despite being a free agent, Dudley was very open about his connection to the Lakers. He spoke about what he could bring to the team in 2020-21, especially given the circumstances surrounding it.
“[For] a team that is going to miss guys throughout the year through resting, through whatever, potentially corona, it’s good to have vets towards the end to be able to help out,” Dudley said.
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