As the Los Angeles Lakers wait on an answer from Kawhi Leonard, they reportedly agreed to terms with Jared Dudley on a one-year, $2.6 million minimum deal that will not count against their cap space.
Dudley cited the ability to win a championship and play at home alongside Anthony Davis and LeBron James as his reasons for wanting to join the Lakers. And while a player like Dudley usually doesn’t generate immense interest in the free agent market, there were at least two other teams vying for his services.
After his reported agreement, it was said that Dudley chose the Lakers over the Detroit Pistons and the Brooklyn Nets, where he spent the 2018-19 NBA season and went to his first NBA playoffs since 2015, according to Brad Turner of Los Angeles Times:
The Lakers and free-agent forward Jared Dudley have agreed to a deal for him to join the team. Dudley, a 6-foot-7 forward, will sign for the veteran minimum of about $2.5 million.
He had offers from the Brooklyn Nets, the team he played on last season, and the Detroit Pistons.
The Pistons are clearly not a championship contender, as they just barely sneaked into the playoffs. With Blake Griffin sidelined, they then got swept out of the first round by the Milwaukee Bucks, who eventually ended up losing in the Eastern Conference Finals.
However, it’s interesting that Dudley would choose to disregard the Nets as a championship contender. Last season, when the Nets were a young, scrappy surprise team, they got the Eastern Conference’s sixth spot, losing in a competitive first round series to the Philadelphia 76ers.
But this summer, they replaced D’Angelo Russell with Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, DeAndre Jordan, and other solid additions. And even though Durant will miss all of the 2019-20 season due to a ruptured Achilles, the Nets should still be looked at as a serious team.
It’s clear that Dudley believes the Lakers have a much better chance at winning the championship this season. It’s completely fair to feel that way, considering the Lakers roster currently consists of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kyle Kuzma, and a max-contract slot currently reserved for Leonard.
If Dudley can do for the Lakers what he did for the Nets last season, he could be a huge addition for 17-20 minutes a night — something this team could desperately need as they search for meaningful depth.