Though Dudley didn’t make much of an impact on the court anymore, his presence on the sidelines and in the locker room became an invaluable piece to the franchise.
However, with Dudley entering the free-agent market as an unrestricted player, his future with the franchise was up in the air.
The Lakers weren’t in a rush to re-sign him to a third minimum deal, and a report indicated his time with the team seemed over since L.A. wanted a third point guard and a wing, pushing Dudley out of the picture.
Then, reports said the Dallas Mavericks hired Dudley to be an assistant coach on Jason Kidd’s staff, ending any chance of Dudley’s return to L.A. in some capacity.
Because of Dudley’s presence, and how close he is with teammates LeBron James and Anthony Davis, it was surprising for some that Dudley didn’t return.
In an interview with Bill Plaschke of The Los Angeles Times, Dudley revealed his superstar duo did want him back, but the front office wanted to go a different direction:
“Obviously LeBron and A.D. wanted me back,” said Dudley. “But we just couldn’t convince them.”
“No one owed me anything, Rob and Kurt 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 said. “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.”
Dudley said he talked to Rob Pelinka and Kurt Rambis and, though he respected their decision, he didn’t agree with them not wanting him back:
“I talked to Rob and Kurt, I thanked them, but I told them, you’re valuing youth more than a locker room presence guy,” Dudley said. “I said, ‘I respect you for doing that, but I think you’re wrong,’”
Based on James’ reaction to the news on Twitter, he’s hurt Dudley won’t be around anymore as the glue guy behind the scenes.
Instead, the Lakers will move on and find new faces to pencil in the remaining roster spots.
Source: Yahoo Sports