The Los Angeles Lakers endured a significant roster reshuffle this offseason but managed to bring back its core, including Anthony Davis, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Jared Dudley and Markieff Morris.
Dudley’s inclusion might raise a few eyebrows, but not to the man himself. Dudley joked during his first interview since re-signing with L.A. that he should have returned on a four-year minimum contract with the Lakers, but only after waiting for Davis to commit his future to the organization first — and therefore placing himself on the same timeline as the forward All-Star and LeBron James.
“That’s my fault. I didn’t get the memo in the text message,” Dudley joked.
Dudley said his role within the team would not change this season. He will again take care of the locker room and play the familiar part of an intermediary between the coaching staff and the players, particularly Davis and James.
“It’s a perfect marriage,” Dudley reiterated after offering the same comment in an exclusive interview with LakersNation.com last month.
Dudley added he would also keep mentoring younger players and helping free agency recruits familiarize themselves with the new environment, singling out his plan for Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell.
The 35-year-old veteran plans to study game film with them, hoping to ensure their efficiency remains high even if their statistics suffer while playing next to superstars like Davis and James.
“Anytime you play with LeBron and A.D., your numbers aren’t going to be the same,” Dudley said. “You’re going to get your opportunities, they just come less frequently, so your numbers are going to go down but your efficiency should go up.”
Dudley brought up his past work with D’Angelo Russell, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bradley Beal, pointing out they went on to signing lucrative contracts afterward. And the veteran emphasized he would demand commitment and sacrifice from Schroder, Harrell, Kyle Kuzma and Morris, but only for their — and the team’s — own good and prosperous future.
“Through my talking and play on the court and in film, they’ll know I’m here for the team and their ultimate goal of getting paid and winning a championship,” Dudley said.
LeBron James hopes Dennis Schroder will like his nickname
The expectations are set high for Schroder and Harrell, but only because the Lakers are aware of their talent and potential.
James recently praised the former Oklahoma City Thunder’s sixth man for his tenacity, likening him to Richard Jefferson and Draymond Green. The four-time NBA champion added Schroder was the kind of player others love to have on the team but hate to play against.
And James revealed a nickname he has for the point guard — “Dennis the Menace” — and expressed hope that Schroder would be accepting of it.
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