LeBron James is really not happy about Jared Dudley's departure to Mavs bench

·3 min read

Jared Dudley is headed to Dallas. 

The 14-year NBA veteran is trading his sneakers for a sideline seat, joining the Dallas Mavericks as an assistant on head coach Jason Kidd's staff. Dudley confirmed the news on Tuesday. 

For this, LeBron James is not pleased. He's happy for his guy. But he's demonstrably displeased about losing the veteran who spent the last two seasons as a Lakers backup and won a championship alongside James in 2020.

LeBron's visceral reaction to Dudley's departure

James made his feelings abundantly clear (using not-safe-for-work language) on Twitter after seeing an early report on Dudley's decision.

Dudley made a minimal impact on the floor in Los Angeles. In two seasons, he played 7.8 minutes per game in 57 appearances, averaging 1.3 points and 1.3 rebounds per appearance. So why is James so upset about losing him?

Let James explain. 

"I've been fortunate enough to play with some real, real true professionals when it comes to that role and guys that are stars in their role, and Dudz is another one of those guys that whatever the team needs — I mean literally, whatever the team needs — he is ready for whatever both on and off the floor," James said in January. "And that is a diamond in the rough to have for a championship-aspiring ball club. Dudz has been that for us the last two years."

So, yeah. James clearly places a high value on what Dudley brings to a locker room. And so do the Mavericks, apparently. And now Dudley's taking those talents to the Lakers' Western Conference rival. 

LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers high fives Jared Dudley #10 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the fourth quarter in Game Five of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on September 12, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
LeBron James is going to miss Jared Dudley. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Dudley appeared to be on his way out of Los Angeles regardless of his decision to join Dallas. Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes reported last week that pending roster transactions meant the likely end of Dudley's time as as a player for the Lakers. But James apparently didn't get the heads up that he was joining the Mavs bench. 

Dudley's feelings for James and the Lakers appear mutual. His Twitter bio on Tuesday still read: "It’s a privilege and honor to be a part of Laker Nation!" And he announced his retirement as a player with a shoutout to James and the Lakers. 

In the end, it sounds like James would have preferred that the Lakers found a role for Dudley to keep him in house. 

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