LeBron James, Anthony Davis lobbied Lakers to keep Jared Dudley
Jared Dudley barely played for the Los Angeles Lakers, but it’s quite clear that his departure from the team is viewed as a big blow by the team’s stars.
Speaking to Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times, Dudley admitted that he had expected to return to the Lakers, saying it was “crazy” that he was not brought back. The 36-year-old added that he had no hard feelings toward the organization, but had tried to convince the team to bring him back to the point that he was willing to play on a non-guaranteed contract.
“Obviously LeBron and A.D. wanted me back,” Dudley said. “But we just couldn’t convince them.”
How serious were some Lakers about bringing Dudley back? According to Plaschke, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook all lobbied the front office to keep Dudley, but their overtures were rebuffed. With that option out, Dudley opted to retire and join Dallas Mavericks coach Jason Kidd’s staff as an assistant.
James did not hide his anger at Dudley’s departure when the news came out. Dudley was regarded as a key locker room presence who kept the team’s stars on the same page and was widely beloved by teammates. Given his eagerness to return, it’s surprising the Lakers weren’t willing to find a way to accommodate him.