Regretfully, Jared Dudley will not be back in the Los Angeles Lakers locker room in 2021-22 — neither as a player nor coach. After two seasons in L.A. and 14 in the NBA, seemingly everybody’s favorite teammate — including LeBron James — is retiring to join the Dallas Mavericks as an assistant coach.
Shortly before Dudley announced his retirement on Twitter, James couldn’t hold back his strong feelings upon seeing reports of Dudley’s impending departure.
Dudley was an instrumental voice for the Lakers on the 2019-20 championship team (he wrote a highly entertaining e-book about it). The 36-year old personally thanked James, Anthony Davis, Jeanie Buss, and the Lakers organization for helping him win a ring.
Dudley appeared in nine games in the 2019-20 playoffs, and 12 overall in 2020-21. However, his impact was immeasurable amid challenging bubble circumstances and throughout a rocky 2020-21 campaign.
“There were no problems these last few years since I’ve been in the locker room,” Dudley said at exit interviews. “No beef, not any problems, just good chemistry. When we won the chip it was phenomenal chemistry. That’s part of my job to make sure that happens. And if it doesn’t happen, then it means I did a poor job.”