Jared Dudley’s playing days are over, but he isn’t leaving the league. On Tuesday, Dudley announced that he would be retiring as a player in the NBA and accepting a role as an assistant coach with the Dallas Mavericks under new head coach Jason Kidd. Dudley will reportedly have a spot at the front of the bench alongside new head coach Jason Kidd.
“I been preparing this moment for a long time! From deep talks With Nash, Hill, Shaq, Bron, Booker, Beal, AD, Giannis the list goes on,” Dudley wrote. “Very excited to Join the MAVS and JKidd staff! Perfect fit and opportunity… Time to get to work.”
Dudley played the last two seasons of his career with the Lakers. and after he announced his plans to join Dallas’ coaching staff, the Lakers thanked him for the veteran leadership that he provided during his time with the team.
Lakers teammate LeBron James even reacted in shock when he learned that Dudley wouldn’t be with the team anymore:
“Congrats to my guy if this true, which [it] probably is! But man!! F—,” LeBron wrote. In a follow-up tweet James explained his uncensored initial reaction: “Excuse my language but this one hurt!! For many reasons that you wouldn’t understand.”
Kidd served as an assistant with the Lakers for the past two seasons, so the connection to Dudley makes sense. It’s also a smart move by the Mavericks, as Dudley has been a vocal leader in L.A.’s locker room and in previous stints around the league. His presence on Dallas’ coaching staff can provide this young team with a veteran voice who just finished playing in the league, and serve as a bridge between the players and the coaches.
Adding Dudley is just the latest move in what has been an overhaul of the Mavericks coaching staff and front office this summer. Longtime general manager Donnie Nelson and head coach Rick Carlisle stepped down following another first-round exit in the playoffs and an explosive article detailing the dysfunction that existed within the franchise. That led Dallas to bring in former Nike executive Nico Harrison as the new head of basketball operations, and hire Kidd as the head coach.
Dallas is hoping that these moves will help move the needle in the direction of more success in the postseason and in free agency — two areas where this franchise has failed for the better part of the last decade.