Jared Dudley says it's 'crazy' he won't be back with Lakers, admits he thought he was going to re-sign with team - Lakers Daily

Jared Dudley says it’s ‘crazy’ he won’t be back with Lakers, admits he thought he was going to re-sign with team

Jared Dudley Lakers

Former Los Angeles Lakers veteran Jared Dudley can’t believe that the team didn’t retain him this offseason.

“I thought I was coming back to the Lakers,” Dudley told Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times. “This is crazy.”

The 36-year-old recently joined the Dallas Mavericks organization in a coaching capacity. It certainly sounds like his preference would have been to stay with the Lakers.

“Obviously LeBron [James] and A.D. (Anthony Davis) wanted me back,” Dudley added during his conversation with Plaschke. “But we just couldn’t convince them.”

Dudley was far from a star player, but he was an important piece in L.A.’s locker room. For a Lakers team loaded with big personalities, chemistry is very important.

“No one owed me anything, Rob [Pelinka] and Kurt [Rambis] 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 continued. “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.”

During his time with the Lakers, Dudley averaged just 1.3 points per game and rarely saw meaningful minutes. However, his veteran leadership was invaluable.

L.A. will have to do its best to get by without him. The roster is loaded with talent, and the expectation is that the team’s Big 3 of James, Davis and Russell Westbrook will carry the Lakers throughout the season.

L.A. is widely considered the favorite to win the NBA title in the 2021-22 campaign.