Jared Dudley says he’s coming back to the Lakers in free agency

Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images
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Jared Dudley is an NBA champion. It doesn’t matter that he played 31 total minutes for the Los Angeles Lakers in the postseason, or that he averaged a career-low 8.1 minutes per game in the regular season: he’s a champion.

With that final career milestone out of the way, Dudley, 35, could just call it a career like many players in his position have. Dudley’s not ready, though. In fact, during a recent appearance on “The Bill Simmons Podcast,” the 13-year veteran — who will be a free agent this summer — started campaigning for his return to the Lakers:

“For one, I’m coming back. Listen, I’ll go to Rob Pelinka’s front door and knock on the door. I’m coming back. They need me on the backside of the bench and practices.”

Simmons did some recruiting of his own at the end of the podcast, asking Dudley what it would take for The Ringer to bring him on, to which Dudley responded by saying they’d re-visit the subject next year:

“You know I’m gonna be there (in media) soon enough. Let me get another one on this ride. I need this Staples ride and after that (we’ll talk).”

The Lakers signed Dudley to a one-year contract for the veteran’s minimum last summer. If Dudley is brought back for another season, it’s a near-guarantee it would be for the veteran’s minimum once again.

However, with the Lakers coming fresh off of a championship run, there will almost certainly be a handful of veteran free agents angling for the role that Dudley had with the team this past season, and a few of them could even be rotation players with how cash-strapped teams around the league will be this offseason. In other words, Dudley could face some stiff competition.

The good news for Dudley is that the Lakers might value what he brings to the locker room more than they value what an end-of-the-bench player could bring on the court. The Lakers prided themselves on having strong team chemistry throughout the 2019-20 campaign, and if Dudley was a big part of that, it’s not hard to imagine him having a spot on the team.

It’s a little too soon for Dudley — or anyone not working in the front office — to be thinking about next season, though. Dudley is a champion and, for at least the next few weeks, that’s all that should matter.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas.

Comments

Max contract

make it happen Mitch

Only if JR Smith refuses it first...

For one, I’m coming back. Listen, I’ll go to Rob Pelinka’s front door and knock on the door. I’m coming back. They need me on the backside of the bench and practices."

I love the spirit, if we had Mark Madsen then we can have Jared.

Oh god. Fuck. Noooooo

I mean, he's not wrong. The best job in the world has to be NBA bench warmers.

Vet min is like what, $200K? That’s a hefty chunk of change for garbage time play, bench cheering, and going hard at practices. And you get to play basketball w/ LBJ and AD every other day. In the Lakers case, he could ride the purple and gold bus to another ring.

Plus, there is literally no pressure on you. Nobody in the media is gonna call you out for missing a shot, mostly because they don’t expect you to make that shot in the first place!

$200K?? Dude, this is the NBA!

Duds made a cool $2.5 million this year. I can definitely see why he wants to come back..

2.5 mil isn't much

…when you have made sixty mil in your career. I can’t see why he wants to come back.

He has tens of millions in his 401k or in real estate; he has a ring. He is 35. And he has no serious injuries. But he is in the age bracket where players do get serious injuries. The risk vs reward profile is not appealing.

It’s basketball

Pretty easy to practice and cheer

How many game minutes do you see him realistically logging?

Not that people don’t get injured at practices, but risk is way less since you’re not going full-speed.

Duds is a good guy, and he added to the chemistry for sure.

Lakers have to save Dud's salary to spend it on a backup point guard

Because Rondo just opted out.

I suspect Rondo would like to stay, but wants more money.

With Early Bird rights, the Lakers could pay him any amount up to about league average salary (somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 million). "could" being the operative word.

If everyone opts out and wants more, they can’t possibly pay everyone the most money they’re capable of paying them — it would push them over the hard cap (probably 139 millionish if the cap is 109 million)

And it would only take big raises for 1 or 2 to push them into luxury tax, and then they’d only get the taxpayer MLE instead of the regular MLE. Rob has his work cut out for him.

Would you pay him? How do we value his playoff contributions vs his regular season contributions?

I would love him back just for the chance of Playoff Rondo at the end of the season. Just don’t know what would be a fair number.

I wouln't pay him TODAY...

but depending on what the other guys with options do… I might

Coaching staff at best

He’s not an NBA player anymore

South Bay "Lakers"

Might need a vet to teach our rooks…

But when I go knocking on Rob's door every day demanding a contract the police show up

Smh.

Swaggy P? Is that you?

No. It's Pau Gasol.

Vet min.

Can get him after the main contract $$ is done.

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