Anthony Davis, LeBron James wanted Jared Dudley back with Lakers, Dudley would have played on non-guaranteed deal

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

After serving as one of the Lakers' most important locker room voices over the last two seasons, Jared Dudley departed both the team and the court itself earlier this week, turning in his uniform for a suit to join Jason Kidd’s staff in Dallas.

That wasn’t an entire surprise as the Lakers had forecast that they would likely be moving on from Dudley when it comes to roster construction. However, that move came despite some rather important figures pushing for Dudley to return.

According to Bill Plaschke of the LA Times, who spoke with Dudley after his move, both LeBron James and Anthony Davis wanted the Lakers to retain Dudley.

“Obviously LeBron and A.D. wanted me back,” said Dudley. “But we just couldn’t convince them.”

A number of reasons likely played into the Lakers not retaining Dudley. For one, the team wanted to keep an open roster spot heading into the season, which allows them more flexibility either via trade or to sign players bought out mid-season.

Financially, Dudley would have been on a veteran minimum contract but would have cost the team quite a bit more in luxury tax. With his minimum deal being north of $2.5 million, signing him would have cost the Lakers closer to $8 million over the whole season.

Unfortunately, the luxury tax has played a notable role in the Lakers offseason decision-making, leading to them ultimately not retaining Alex Caruso earlier in free agency.

Adding more to the frustration, then, is that Dudley would have played on a non-guaranteed deal this season.

After being rebuffed in his best efforts to return for a third season — he would have played for a non-guaranteed contract — Dudley suddenly announced this week that he is retiring to accept a job as one of the top assistants for Jason Kidd’s Dallas Mavericks.

A non-guaranteed deal would have cut down on the luxury tax bill and allowed the Lakers the flexibility to release Dudley up to Jan. 10, 2022 and maintain an open roster spot.

There is an argument that Dudley’s voice would have carried less weight in the locker room this season with the Lakers’ roster full of veteran players. Dudley’s voice still mattered to Davis and James but would it have carried that same weight across a locker room of players with more experience in the league?

Ultimately, the Lakers did not feel having his voice in the locker room and on the bench was worth the $8 million of a guaranteed roster spot or significantly less money on a non-guaranteed deal. How the Lakers fill out that roster and whether the team feels any off-court impact of not having Dudley’s presence will determine whether this was a risk worth taking.

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


Bad for team chemistry

The Lakers FO have made some questionable marginal decisions that I hope don’t come back to bite them in the ass.

Meh. That's what Dwight is for. FO gave Bron Brodie already. Time to put up or shut up.

I think some combination of Dwight, Ariza, Ellington ... can also help make up whatever void is left in the locker room

I will have to disagree with you this time Carolus Magnus

Please see heyeug bellow.

They could have brought him back as a coach.

It’s not a binary thing


While we all loved Dudz, I’m glad the Lakers FO isn’t bending every will to that of its two stars, and instead are prioritizing the betterment of the team moving forward. I think Bron and AD will realize or, do realize this.

I'm sorry but if a player who never touches the court is the difference between winning and losing, something is terribly wrong

I thank Dudley for his contribution the last two seasons, but he is not worth $8M let alone the veteran’s minimum. It is a much better strategy for the Lakers to open up his spot for a player who may actually contribute in case of injury, covid, etc.

I would've been fine with Dudley back on the end of the bench

but it makes sense to move on as well. The Roster doesn’t seem to need a wise old man at the end of the bench anymore. They got rid of the Kuzma, Schroeder, trez types who need finessing to fit in and have vets that are here for a reason. I don’t think they need someone to "contribute", but I’d love Dudley’s spot to go to someone who could develop.

Love Dudz

Love him, but glad he is not back. Shows the Klutch is not running the Lakers. LBJ and AD will have to work harder to lead the team instead of relying on a spokesperson.

Lebron has never needed a spokesperson to lead the team

As Pelinka said, LBJ has a partnership with Pelinka when it comes to personnel. It's not a dictatorship by LeBron. There's give and take and James already has a lot of what he wanted on the team.

Rob is thrown bones on the less critical issues apparently.

If LeBron really wanted Dudley back on the team – like if Dudley was James Jones (Dudley is not what James Jones was to LeBron) – then Dudley would be on the team.

As the utterly devastated Plascke said in his article, "Maybe James could have thrown around his weight a little more?"

He could have but he didn’t.

Yeah these takes are kinda getting ridiculous and tiresome. How many glue guys a team needs?

Don’t worry Rob, I can be the glue guy. You won’t even need to pay me, I’m pretty confident in my ability to sit on the bench and wave towels around.

Being a vet minimum towel waiver has to be the best job in the whole damned world.

Sacre sure dug it. And Kaman when he was awake.

I'm glad to see that most agree that paying someone 8 million to be the glue guy and hardly sees playing time is pretty ridiculous.

Dudley is great and all but that would have been a bad move and would have brought a lot of warranted scrutiny of management.

To be clear, Dudley would not have been paid $8M but would have cost the Lakers $8M with tax considerations

I repeat: It was time to move on for both parties.

I don’t know what Bill Plaschkes problem is

He’s always bitching about something. He comes off as a d-bag on around the horn too.

Lets put aside the financial aspect and think about the intangible part of Dudley being the "glue guy" on the team or at least one of them.

so then the topic becomes more about team chemistry and veteran leadership. I would say that on a rebuilding team a team with young players, his veteran leadership is needed. Not to say that on a veteran team this is not needed, but it is not such a big issue on a team that is a veteran team with title hopes.

Obviously, Dudley’s presence will be missed. However, if this team’s leadership, in the form of its players, cannot withstand the loss of Dudley then I question their championship mettle. I would like to think and believe that this team’s glue is just as strong if not stronger, with or without him. You have Melo, AD and Lebron and ever Russ who apparently his teammates love. You also have Howard. This to me is an overreaction to think and say this is something big. It is not.

The question to me is why didn't we offer the coaching role to him?

That wouldn’t be fair to Frank Vogel

If Dudley was on the bench we might have a scenario like David blatt and Ty lue.

They already have that with David Fizdale.

And we had Jason Kidd

Vogel doesn’t seem scared of having a potential head coach on the bench with him.

View All Comments
Back to top ↑