Jared Dudley has been in the NBA for 14 years. Last year, at the age of 35, he won his first-ever championship as a veteran player on the Los Angeles Lakers.
Dudley re-signed with the Lakers on a one-year, veteran’s minimum contract in free agency, but during a recent appearance on the podcast “Inside the Green Room,” he expressed a desire to play at least one more year after his current contract expires, whether that’s in Los Angeles or elsewhere:
“When I was a kid in junior high, high school and going into college and stuff like that, my goal was to play 10 years in the NBA. And it’s so funny because when you get to the NBA, most people don’t know this, 10 years is the full, max pension, so it makes sense, right? If you play 20 years, doesn’t matter, you get the same pension from 10 to 20 ...
Now, what people don’t realize is the older you get, it’s not really about you, it’s about your family and your kids. So I have a youngest son who’s nine. A daughter who’s 11, another daughter who’s six. My son, I’m trying to somewhat inspire him, so I would love to play one more year, 15, hopefully we can get this coronavirus gone and get fans (back). I want him one last year so he knows that I couldn’t do more than that, sometimes they boot you out, they might try to boot me out this year.
But I just think that you need vets to be able to help out in the locker room, man, and I think if it’s not with the Lakers, I believe there is a team out there that will respect what I can do and help that locker room, and I would love to see my son maybe even travel to some games. I want my last hurrah, him to be heavily, heavily involved.”
Many have assumed that once Dudley does decide to hang it up, he’ll pursue a career in the media because of his personality and his fondness for appearing on podcasts (seriously: this man when on a whole podcast tour last summer).
However, Dudley wants to be more than just an ambassador for the NBA; he wants to be involved in the development of players, and the best way to do that is to stay involved with a team:
“It’s coach or GM, that’s what it is. I’m leaning towards coaching just because if you get fired, you can be an assistant. I could go into TV. General manager is a little different. I would prefer to be able to control the team like a general manager, but it’s different because once you get fired from being a GM, can you be an assistant GM? It’s tough, man, and you’ve got to work your way up, just like coaching.
My personality is a fit for both, I’m on the phone, I talk to my agent, I talk to players even, I’m just intrigued about free agency, about deals getting done, under the table, over the table, you know how it all goes, I like stuff like that. I like the Jerry Maguire movies and stuff like that. But with coaching, coaching I can have impact on you.
Like listen, I can tell you why you’re not playing. I’m trying to help you further along in your career. Some players do, and the winning, you can feel it more. You know Frank Vogel and Rob Pelinka, they both probably feel it, but Frank Vogel when that champagne is coming down, he’s doing the X’s and O’s, I think he feels it just a little bit more.”
Given the relationships he’s formed in his brief time in Los Angeles, it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see Dudley back with the Lakers once his career as a player is over. However, it’s more likely that it will be as an assistant coach rather than the general manager — I don’t think Rob Pelinka, the team’s current general manager, is in any hurry to give up his title.
And, if all else fails, Dudley almost definitely has a career in television — he’s just one of those naturally funny guys.