There has been much discussion over the Los Angeles Lakers choosing not to bring back veteran forward Jared Dudley for a third season. Though he wasn’t a major contributor on the court, he was invaluable as a locker room leader and clear favorite of both LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
With the team apparently valuing younger depth, they decided to let Dudley go in a move that he respects but doesn’t necessarily agree with.
Dudley has been open about the fact that he expected to return to the Lakers, but instead, he will now join the Dallas Mavericks not as a player, but as an assistant coach under their new head man Jason Kidd, who of course has served as a Lakers assistant the last couple of years.
Dudley going into coaching is no surprise to anyone who has been around him over the years, but some have now wondered why the Lakers wouldn’t have done the same thing if they didn’t want to keep him on as a player. According to Bill Plaschke of the L.A. Times, that was something that was never even discussed:
It appears they didn’t want him as a player because they felt that, with their aging team, they need youthful depth. They apparently never discussed the possibility that he would retire and become a coach.
Dudley potentially joining the coaching staff not being discussed is a bit of a surprise considering where he is in his career. He was obviously at the tail end of his playing days and was basically serving as a pseudo assistant coach anyway, so that subject never being broached is odd, to say the least.
Perhaps Dudley himself was adamant about continuing to play and only thought about the idea of coaching later on in the process as it became clear that a return to playing wasn’t happening. Whatever the case may be, Dudley’s playing career is now over and the Mavericks have earned themselves a great voice on their staff.
Dudley thanks Lakers, James & Anthony Davis in Twitter post
Despite his disappointment at not returning to the Lakers, Dudley still has a ton of respect and gratitude towards the franchise. After joining the Mavericks as an assistant coach, Dudley took to Twitter to thank the organization and specifically James, Anthony Davis and owner Jeanie Buss for everything they did for him.
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