Though he rarely played any major important minutes over the past two seasons, veteran forward Jared Dudley was clearly one of the most respected players in the Los Angeles Lakers locker room. Completely understanding his role on the team, Dudley was invaluable as a veteran voice on the bench who helped players in practice and mentored some of the team’s younger talent.
Dudley had made his intentions clear that he wanted to remain with the Lakers in hopes of trying for another NBA Championship. But the team has yet to re-sign Dudley and it seems as if they are unlikely to do so even with a couple of open roster spots remaining.
And now it seems as if Dudley has found a new landing spot and a new position as well, one which should come as no surprise to anyone. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Dudley is joining the Dallas Mavericks as an assistant coach:
After 14 NBA seasons, Jared Dudley has agreed to a deal to become an assistant coach with the Dallas Mavericks, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Dudley will be a front of the bench assistant under new head coach Jason Kidd.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 24, 2021
The move makes all the sense in the world for Dudley, who has always seemed like the ideal player to move into coaching once his playing career was done. Furthermore, he has some familiarity with the Mavericks as their new head coach Jason Kidd has witnessed his IQ and how he can help a locker room up close and personal over the past two years.
When Dudley initially joined the Lakers there were many who questioned the move, but he was absolutely instrumental to the team’s chemistry, garnering respect from everyone in that locker room. Whether it was LeBron James and Anthony Davis or Talen Horton-Tucker and Devontae Cacok, when Dudley spoke everybody listened and that will now begin transitioning to a coaching role.
It wouldn’t be a shock if Dudley moves up the coaching ranks extremely quickly and we begin to hear his name as a head coaching candidate within the next couple of seasons.
Kyle Kuzma calls Jared Dudley best teammate ‘by far’
If you needed any more convincing as to how beloved Jared Dudley was within the Lakers locker room, look no further than Kyle Kuzma. The forward named Dudley as his best teammate ‘by far’ in a recent Q&A on Twitter.
Of course, Kuzma is no longer with the team, being dealt away in the deal to bring in Russell Westbrook. But clearly, the knowledge Dudley imparted on him will stick with him wherever he is.
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