The Los Angeles Lakers’ owner is the primary reason a key player did not return to the team, according to a report.


The Los Angeles Lakers’ training camp has begun, and we’re beginning to learn more about why the team made the decisions it did during the offseason. The decision not to re-sign veteran forward Jared Dudley was one of the more surprising developments. He had stated previously that he wanted to play one more season with the team, but instead chose to coach the Dallas Mavericks.

He later stated that he still wanted to play for the team, but that his feelings were not reciprocated. Given his relationship with the Lakers’ players, including LeBron James and Anthony Davis, this seemed a bit surprising. The decision, however, could have been made outside of the front office’s control. According to The Athletic, one of the main reasons Dudley isn’t back is because of owner Jeanie Buss:

In the midst of this flurry of changes, the Lakers also declined to retain another constant: Dudley, who had been a presence in the Lakers recruiting efforts.

He was not offered a contract to be a part of the team and the move had everything to do with the pressure applied to the front office by Buss. Each and every roster spot needed to be filled by players who could help on the floor, especially during another season impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Every personnel choice, it seemed, would be made with the shared goal of surrounding James, Davis and Westbrook with talent that could truly help with the latest title contention. And not only was Dudley 36, but also he had been unable to help when it mattered most last season after tearing his medial collateral ligament in mid-March.

At the end of the season, sources said, the Lakers did have conversations with Dudley about other potential roles in the organization, including broadcasting, but ultimately he opted for a front-of-the-bench coaching position with Jason Kidd and the Dallas Mavericks.

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! Will the Lakers regret not bringing Dudley back?

While Dudley’s days on the court as a rotational player are long gone, there’s no denying he was a great teammate. In fact, Kyle Kuzma, a former Lakers forward, said he was the best teammate he’d ever had.

$ When the Lakers still had young players like Kuzma, however, that was more valuable. This offseason, the team decided to bring in a lot of veterans. As a result, having a player like Dudley became less valuable. He was a fan and team favorite, but he couldn’t offer the Lakers much this season that other players couldn’t.

Dudley as a Broadcaster Could’ve Made Sense

The Athletic report fails to mention that the Lakers wanted Dudley to work as a broadcaster. That would have been a natural fit because the former forward was always one of the team’s most vocal and charismatic players. He could have thrived in that environment.

However, while broadcasting jobs come up all the time, front-of-the-bench coaching opportunities for guys with no experience are scarce. He’ll play a key role on Jason Kidd’s staff, and it’s understandable why he’d prefer that. The Lakers would not have been able to offer him such a high-ranking position as a coach.

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