Lakers Land Jared Dudley
What’s the deal?
Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Jared Dudley has agreed to a one-year, $2.6 million deal.
What does Jared Dudley bring to the Lakers?
Dudley was a key contributor both on and off the court in the Brooklyn Nets’ playoff surge last season that paved the way to attract superstar free agents Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
With the Nets reluctant to bring Dudley back, he reportedly pitched himself to the Lakers but secured LeBron James’ blessings first before he agreed to take the veteran minimum deal.
“There was some backchannels, for sure,” Dudley told Wojnarowski on Tuesday’s edition of The Woj Pod. “You want LeBron to have to sign off on it. You want him to want to play with you. It’s not like I’m an All-Star player, but I’ve been a very important part of the team, any team I’ve been on. You can ask any player, from Giannis (Antetokounmpo) to Devin Booker to John Wall. When it comes to the locker room, I control the locker room. I keep it upbeat. I keep everybody on the same page, and that’s something I knew I could help with here.”
Dudley was speaking the truth.
Following an eight-game slump by the young Nets in December, he led a players-only meeting that woke them up and became the catalyst to a seven-game win streak and a 20-6 surge that helped them secure a playoff spot since 2015.
On the court, Dudley, a 39-percent career three-point shooter, will help space the floor while providing toughness on the defensive end. Just ask Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers how tough Dudley is as a competitor.
What does this mean for the Lakers?
This move only validated their direction towards building a championship contender. Dudley is a consummate professional who has done everything in the NBA except win a ring.
“I’ve made my money. I’ve had success when it comes to mentoring young teams. But really I haven’t had that one where before the season started it’s a championship contender,” Dudley also told Wojnarowski. “It’s one thing that’s missing for me.”
While there’s no guarantee that Dudley will see the 20.7 minutes he averaged with the Nets last season, the Lakers may have bagged the ultimate role player in Dudley, a player who will do everything, sacrifice everything just to help his team achieve their goal.
How would you grade this contract?
The Lakers get an A for this deal. They got a veteran leader whose value exceeds his paycheck. The bigger deal is that they got him without touching their cap space intended for chasing Kawhi Leonard.
After all the storms that struck the Lakers’ organization last season, it seems a ray of sunshine is finally showing up in the Hollywood. While they don’t have a complete team yet, Dudley represents the Lakers’ rebuild – winner’s mentality, culture and respect.