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Jared Dudley explained why he picked the Lakers over the Nets and Pistons in free agency

Jared Dudley had some interest from other teams like the Nets and Pistons in free agency, but the opportunity to compete for a championship with LeBron James drove him to the Lakers.

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Brooklyn Nets v Philadelphia 76ers - Game Five Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers made just their second signing of free agency on Tuesday when they agreed to a deal with 12-year veteran forward Jared Dudley.

Dudley might have not been at the top of many Lakers fans’ free agency wishlists, but he was sought after by several teams in free agency including the Detroit Pistons and Brooklyn Nets, according to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times.

During an interview on ESPN’s “The Woj Pod,” Dudley told Adrian Wojnarowski why he decided to choose Los Angeles over other teams and dismissed the notion that players don’t want to play for the Lakers:

“People want to play for the Lakers. You might hear around that people don’t want to, stars and stuff like that. But for one it’s L.A., it’s a team that has the best tradition in all of professional sports when it comes to their championships and what they’ve accomplished ...”

Dudley admitted that he considered returning to Brooklyn, where he became a fan favorite because of his battles with Ben Simmons in the postseason, but he said he saw an opportunity to compete for a championship in Los Angeles alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis:

“... There was not a team that stood out, besides Brooklyn and the Lakers, that was something I wanted to be a part of. I’ve made my money. I’ve had success when it comes to mentoring young teams, but I haven’t had that run where before the season started it’s a championship contender. That’s one thing that’s missing for me, and to be able to do it, basically at home? I mean San Diego, it’s Laker Nation out there, so for me this is home even though I’m from San Diego.”

Dudley also said the Nets didn’t make him a priority in free agency, which propelled him to team up with James, an opportunity he said he couldn’t pass up at 33 years old:

“But for me, I’m still picking LeBron. Everyone knows it goes through him when he has the right pieces. Adding Anthony Davis, and we’ll see what happens with Kawhi, but if the deal happens, it was something that later in my career I couldn’t pass up.”

For Dudley, it sounds like this summer was the first time in a while that he had options in free agency, and he decided to come home to Southern California, where the best fans in the NBA reside, according to him:

“The Lakers, if you talk to any player in the NBA, they will tell you that Laker fans dominate the opposing arenas. Their fans are by far the most loyal. Maybe it has to do with the history, or the winning, but they could be playing in Boston, they could be playing in Milwaukee, you are going to hear Laker fans in the building. To be able to hear that and see their passion, my social media blowing up ... You yearn for a chance to compete at the highest level. In this league you can’t pick winning or losing. You’re signed up for five or six years on your rookie contract, every player goes for the most money after that, and then after you hit your 11th or 12th year you can pick.

“Now here is my chance to pick, and I pick the Lakers.”

All in all, Dudley sounds pretty happy he’ll get to play in Los Angeles next season. Hopefully he enjoys that feeling as much as he possibly can for the next three months because once the season starts, he’ll be open to criticism as much as anyone on the roster and while it’s true Lakers fans love hard, they hate just as hard. And in a season with as high of expectations as this one is going to have, there are going to be ups and downs.

Good luck, Duds.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. Here is a list of every free agent credibly connected to the Lakers so far.

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