Jared Dudley Leaving Lakers For Mavericks, LeBron James Reacts

Jared Dudley substituting for LeBron James
Gettyimages | Michael Reaves
Basketball

Many fans were saddened by the departure of veteran small forward Jared Dudley from the Los Angeles Lakers this summer. In his exit interview in June, Dudley hinted at his desire to return as a member of the Purple and Gold in the 2021-22 NBA season. During that time, most people believed that Dudley and the Lakers have mutual feelings about continuing their partnership.

However, it turned out that the 2020-21 NBA season was already Dudley's final year representing the Purple and Gold.

Jared Dudley Finds New Job With Mavericks

Jared Dudley sitting at the Lakers' bench
Gettyimages | Kevin C. Cox

After failing to get a new contract with the Lakers, Dudley decided to end his career as a player to pursue another job in the NBA. In a Twitter post, Shams Charania of The Athletic revealed that Dudley would be joining the Dallas Mavericks as Coach Jason Kidd's assistant.

"After 14 NBA seasons, Jared Dudley has agreed to a deal to become an assistant coach with the Dallas Mavericks, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium," Charania reported. "Dudley will be a front of the bench assistant under new head coach Jason Kidd."

Jared Dudley Thanks The Lakers

Jared Dudley screams after hitting a three-pointer
Gettyimages | Mike Stobe

On his official Twitter, Dudley confirmed Charania's report that he would be part of Kidd's coaching staff in Dallas next season. The veteran small forward seems to be excited with his job with the Mavericks, calling it a "perfect fit and opportunity."

Despite how things ended between them, Dudley still thanked the Lakers for letting him be part of their organization. He specifically mentioned former Lakers teammates LeBron James and Anthony Davis, saying that without them, he won't win his first NBA championship title.

LeBron James Reacts To Jared Dudley's Departure

Jared Dudley celebrating Lakers' victory
Gettyimages | Ezra Shaw

Upon learning the news about Dudley's new job, James didn't waste time before sending his congratulations to his former Lakers teammate. By the way his tweet was constructed, James seems happy for Dudley, but he was also frustrated with his surprising departure from the Purple and Gold.

James immediately apologized for the language that he used in his congratulatory tweet for Dudley. He admitted that the veteran small forward's departure hurt "for many reasons that you wouldn't understand," making some people think that he really has no knowledge about the Lakers' decision not to bring Dudley back this summer.

Lakers' 'Big 3' Tried To Convince Front Office To Re-Sign Jared Dudley

James and other Lakers superstars have made efforts to bring Dudley back this summer. According to Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times (h/t Yardbarker), James, together with Davis and Russell Westbrook, have spoken to the Lakers' front office and tried to convince them to give Dudley a contract in the 2021 free agency.

Unfortunately, despite their combined influence with the team, their request was denied. Though Dudley was a great locker room presence, the Lakers may think that they would be better off using the roster spot for a player who could make an impact on the court.