Immediately after it was reported that Dudley would be signing in Los Angeles, he gave his two cents on what went into the decision, and it seems as if he’s pretty happy to get this opportunity:
Jared Dudley confirms that he signed a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, as @wojespn reported. He is excited to go home to California and can't wait to play alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 2, 2019
Jared Dudley on joining Lakers: "This is something I've been contemplating. I'd be getting a chance to compete for a championship, which is something I haven't had since the Steve Nash [Suns] days. I just think that being home and with that Laker brand, what's better than that?"— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 2, 2019
With quotes like that, this guy will probably be a fan favorite in no time.
And as many have already pointed out, Dudley is a great addition both on and off the court. On it, he presents a stretch four who understands how to defend despite not having the athleticism possessed by those he guards. Off it, by all accounts, he’s a great locker room presence (and funny on Twitter to boot).
Given the expectations the Lakers will likely play under next year regardless of where Leonard signs, Dudley’s leadership will be absolutely critical.
It’s also interesting to hear Dudley talk about competing for a championship being a reason why he opted to sign with the Lakers. At first glance, you wonder whether he knows something about Leonard’s intentions — and tweets like this one don’t exactly temper expectations:
— Jared Dudley (@JaredDudley619) July 2, 2019
But no matter where Leonard goes, a tandem of LeBron James and Anthony Davis is going to compete for a title, even if they wouldn’t be favorites in the same way they’d be with Leonard also on the roster. Dudley will have the opportunity he hopes for no matter how the rest of this summer turns out.
Dudley is a great addition to an obviously thin roster. Should the Lakers also add Leonard to their ranks, everyone involved will have to accept the challenge of competing at the absolute highest level with a target on their back night in, night out. It’s great to hear that Dudley understand this, and looks forward to such a challenge.