The Dallas Mavericks have put together a very experienced coaching staff this offseason and the addition of Jared Dudley adds on-court experience that no one from the outside saw coming. Dudley is a 14-year veteran and was a part of the Lakers championship in the 2020 Orlando NBA bubble. His close relationship with Head Coach Jason Kidd during their time in LA together obviously influenced Dudley to join the Mavericks as a coach after choosing to retire when the Lakers front office dragged their feet on re-signing him this offseason. Dudley didn’t log a lot of minutes playing on the court in his two seasons with the Lakers, but teammates like LeBron James desperately wanted him back on the squad because of his leadership and voice in the locker room. Dudley has always been known as one of the more intelligent role players in the league too, doing the things on the court that other players just don’t think to do. It’s because of qualities like this that he’s been able to stay in the league for so long, even while being one of the least productive players on a lot of the teams he suited up for. The Mavericks signing him to the coaching staff garnered some fairly colorful tweets from James.
LeBron wasn’t the only Lakers star that wanted Dudley back in purple and gold though, when speaking to The Los Angeles Times reporter Bill Plaschke, Jared spoke about Anthony Davis pleading on is behalf with Lakers front office officials alongside LeBron.
“Obviously LeBron and A.D. wanted me back,” said Dudley. “But we just couldn’t convince them…No one owed me anything, Rob and Kurt were honest and upfront, nothing but respect and gratitude to them and Jeanie (Buss). I will be forever thankful for the opportunity they gave me,” Dudley said. “But I did want to come back. I did think I could help the team, especially having so many new players, but I understand they wanted to get younger.”
When asked about his meeting with Kurt Rambis and Rob Pelinka he had the following to say:
“I talked to Rob and Kurt, I thanked them, but I told them, you’re valuing youth more than a locker room presence guy,” Dudley said. “I said, ‘I respect you for doing that, but I think you’re wrong,’”
Dudley brings a professional presence to the locker room, his ability to be a motivator and to manage personalities will be a huge asset to a team that is running low on veteran leadership. His knowledge of the game on both ends of the court will be a great addition and will likely serve a startling similar role for the Mavericks as he did with the Lakers despite being on a completely different type of contract. During his time as a player, Dudley played for seven different teams his , averaging 7.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in 904 career games but his contributions go far beyond that stat line.