On the second day of free agency, the Los Angeles Lakers signed Jared Dudley to a one-year, $2.6 million deal Through 59 games in the 2018-19 season, Dudley provided the Brooklyn Nets with reliable 3-point shooting off the bench and veteran leadership in the locker room.
While he’s played less minutes on a star-studded Lakers team, he’s provided many of the same things, and the 34-year-old forward is hoping those attributes are enough to keep him in Los Angeles for another year. In an interview with Spectrum SportsNet last week, Dudley said that he’d like to re-sign with the Lakers in free agency, especially if the season is cut short:
“It’s sad because this has been my best chance to win to be able to win a championship — it’s been the best team. So I’ve already decided: listen, if somehow there’s a closure, I’m going to Jeanie Buss’s office because I’m coming back! You can’t get rid of me if you wanted to! I’ve got to be able to come back and experience this: we’ve got the best fans, the No. 1 seed, a chance to play with LeBron and AD and win a championship.”
The Lakers currently have six players under contract for next season: LeBron James, Danny Green, Kyle Kuzma, Quinn Cook, Alex Caruso and Talen Horton-Tucker. That number could jump to six if Anthony Davis, Avery Bradley, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, JaVale McGee and Rajon Rondo exercise the player options in their contracts.
Going with the assumption that both Davis and Kuzma are the roster next year, Dudley could return in his role as a reserve forward. However, with the shortage of cap space around the league, there will be dozens of veterans just like Dudley that might be willing to take a pay cut to play with James and Davis.
For Dudley’s sake, let’s hope the relationships he’s built within the organization are enough to secure him a spot on next year’s roster. At the very least, we can all hope that the season eventually resumes and the Lakers win a championship so Dudley can retire a champion.
I mean, who doesn’t love some Dudz?