While much of the Lakers’ roster has been turned off-season, the defending champions will return their stars, their coaches, and many of the players who made them so powerful last year.
The last recurring piece? The team’s wagging tongue.
Forward Jared Dudley returns on a one-year minimum deal of $ 2.6 million veterans, first reported by ESPN. The talkative San Diego resident himself acknowledged the signing on Monday afternoon, tweet “I’m back,” in a nod to Michael Jordan’s famous 1995 fax machine announcing his return to the NBA.
On-field production isn’t Dudley’s most important value to the Lakers: he averaged just 1.5 points in 45 appearances last season and only played minutes of junk during the playoffs.
But as a dressing room presence, the 35-year-old was one of the most highly regarded teammates in the league. He is often cited as one of the loudest and most respected voices on the team, and there is very little that Dudley personally disregards. His willingness to involve fans is what made him one of the more popular Lakers that is out of proportion to its playing time. The 2020 title was the first of his career.
He joins Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Markieff Morris as returning Lakers to sign new contracts off-season. Anthony Davis’s maximum deal to rejoin the Lakers is widely considered imminent.
This season could be more fraught than the last, with the threat that COVID-19 has led to cancellations and spotty rosters in many other professional and college sports. Depending on how the season unfolds, and with positive coronavirus tests seemingly at greater risk than in the bubble environment, teams can lean deeper into their rosters. The Lakers only have a two-month gap between seasons, leading to speculation that stars and veterans can play fewer minutes early in the games as well.
Dudley started 25 games while playing an average of 20 minutes per game for the Brooklyn Nets in the 2018/19 season. He’s a career of 39 percent of the three points.
The Lakers’ hard salary ceiling will already make the adjustments tight. The team has only filled 12 of the 15 roster spots, and once Anthony Davis signs his expected maximum deal, the Lakers are expected to have only one minimum wage left. ESPN’s Bobby Marks reported that the Lakers could add a minimum contract later in the season based on pro-rated salaries.