He may not be the high-profile free agency addition that any NBA team would prioritize in the coming offseason, but journeyman forward Jared Dudley is reportedly open to continuing his decade-plus NBA career with the Boston Celtics in the 2019-20 NBA season.
Citing a subscriber-only report from The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn, Sporting News wrote on Sunday that the 33-year-old Dudley is interested in joining the Celtics as a free agent in the summer of 2019. Currently a member of the Brooklyn Nets, a team that was recently eliminated by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2019 playoffs, Dudley averaged 4.9 points and 2.6 assists in 20.5 minutes per game and shot 35.1 percent from beyond the three-point arc in the 2018-19 NBA season, per Basketball-Reference.
If Dudley does end up signing with the Celtics in the 2019 offseason, this could represent a homecoming of sorts for the former Boston College Eagles standout, as further noted by Sporting News. Dudley played four seasons for the Eagles in college before he was picked 22nd overall in the 2007 NBA Draft by the team then known as the Charlotte Bobcats.
Although Jared Dudley could, in theory, be a good addition to the Boston Celtics’ bench if he joins the team in time for next season, he recently told the New York Post that he wouldn’t mind returning to the Nets on the heels of their first postseason appearance in four years. He did, however, leave out the possibility that he may have to find a new NBA home as the Nets potentially build on their recent successes and continue retooling their lineup.
“I loved my New York situation here,” Dudley said. “I’d have no problem coming back here. I don’t say that on every exit interview. Brooklyn has to do what’s best for them. If I’m them, I’m going big-game hunting for the big fish, then you can fall in line.”
Likewise, Sporting News quoted Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson, who spoke to The Athletic in December and praised Dudley’s leadership, basketball IQ, and hustle on the court. Atkinson added that he hasn’t been around a locker room leader that has been as “vocal and energetic” as Dudley has been for the team.
Prior to the report on Dudley’s supposed free agency plans, the veteran forward made headlines during the Nets’ series against the Sixers due to his comments about Ben Simmons being “average” as a half-court player and his ejection in Game 4 after he shoved Sixers big man Joel Embiid, as reported by NBC Sports Philadelphia. Neither Simmons nor Embiid was fazed by Dudley’s remarks and actions, as the latter told reporters after the game that Dudley is a “nobody.”
Over 12 NBA seasons, Jared Dudley has played for six different teams, compiling career averages of 7.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.6 assists and playing both forward positions and shooting guard. His best statistical season came in 2011-12 when he registered 12.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game for the Phoenix Suns.