Lakers News: LeBron James ‘Hurt’ by Jared Dudley Leaving To Join Mavericks Coaching Staff
Jared Dudley, LeBron James
Adam Pantozzi-NBAE

In a bit of a surprising move, it was announced on Tuesday that former Los Angeles Lakers veteran forward Jared Dudley is retiring for the NBA and beginning his coaching career as an assistant on Jason Kidd’s staff with the Dallas Mavericks.

Dudley spent the last two seasons with the Lakers and while he didn’t contribute a whole lot on the court, his presence on the bench and locker room was invaluable to a team that won the championship in 2020.

The 36-year-old was essentially a coach on the bench and now that his playing days are over, he will be doing it full-time in Dallas.

Many Laker fans were hoping that Dudley would stick with the organization as an assistant coach, but that won’t be happening as Dallas could offer him a larger role on the front of the bench. The Lakers’ front-of-the-bench coaching spots are occupied by David Fizdale, Phil Handy and Mike Penberthy.

That didn’t stop Lakers star LeBron James from being disappointed just like the fans though as while he congratulated Dudley on social media, he still expressed discontent that he is leaving the Lakers:

Team chemistry was such an important factor for the Lakers during their 2020 championship run in the bubble and Dudley was a big reason it was so strong.

Given the Lakers essentially have a brand new roster this year, it makes sense that James wanted Dudley to stick around for another year to help grow this group’s chemistry.

It became clear recently that they had no interest in bringing him back as a player to fill one of their final roster spots though, making a spot on the coaching staff the only option. While it remains to be seen how much the Lakers pursued Dudley as a coach, Dallas was always going to have the advantage given what they could offer him.

Dudley thanks Lakers, James and Davis

After the news came out, Dudley took to social media to thank the Lakers organization as well as James and Anthony Davis for the last two years.

Dudley will certainly be missed in L.A., but there’s no doubt that a transition to coaching will be a successful one for the 14-year vet.

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