Jared Dudley

Pacific Notes: Dudley, Suns, LeBron, Davis, Toscano-Anderson

Lakers forward Jared Dudley said the team was motivated by Clippers star Paul George‘s comments last season, with Dudley clarifying further in his book released earlier this week, “Inside the NBA Bubble: A Championship Season under Quarantine”.

“We hear some of those guys talking about how they’re the team to beat in L.A.,” Dudley and co-author Carvell Wallace wrote, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “It’s fine if Kawhi [Leonard] says stuff like that. He’s defending a championship. We don’t trip if someone like Patrick Beverley is talking trash; that’s how he feeds his family. We get it. We respect the hustle.

“But we think it’s disrespectful for Paul George, who hasn’t won, to put himself on the level of [LeBron James] and [Anthony Davis]. This motivates us.”

Dudley also mentioned how the league could benefit from having a Lakers-Clippers rivalry, with both teams seemingly eager to meet in a playoff series — potentially the Western Conference Finals.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Suns are set to welcome back fans for the first time this season, the team announced on its website. Phoenix will host 1,500 fans on February 8, with suites being available to purchase at 25% capacity for each game after February 7.
  • Marc Stein of the New York times examines the pairing of Lakers superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, exploring whether the duo has gotten even better together since signing long-term extensions in the offseason. Los Angeles has opened the 2020/21 season with a 16-6 record, good for third-best in the Western Conference.
  • Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic looks at the making of Warriors swingman Juan Toscano-Anderson. Toscano-Anderson is in his second season with Golden State, with the 27-year-old adding 16 points off the bench in Tuesday’s loss against Boston. “He has an appreciation for the grind that it’s taken for him to get to this level,” teammate Stephen Curry said. “He has a spirit of representing Oakland. Playing for the hometown team for him has got to be such a dope experience. But when it comes to getting on the floor, he plays hard. He’s a smart basketball player. He’s reliable in that sense. He’s worked for everything he’s gotten, for every opportunity. … He hasn’t taken his foot off the gas pedal.”

Pacific Notes: J. Smith, Booker, Wiseman, Dudley

Suns rookie Jalen Smith confirmed that his recent absence was a result of testing positive for COVID-19, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Phoenix had three games postponed this month because of a shortage of eligible players due to health and safety protocols.

“I had COVID for like 10 days,” Smith said. “For like those first, I’d say eight, I didn’t experience any symptoms, but then like basically the last night before getting off, my smell was faint and my taste was faint, but I got my taste back and my smell is starting to come back a little bit now.”

The virus isn’t the only obstacle that Smith, the 10th pick in last year’s draft, has encountered during his first NBA experience. He suffered an ankle injury during a workout last month and has only gotten into two games. He was cleared to return January 6, but tested positive the next day.

“Mentally, I’m fine,” he said. “It’s a process. I still got to learn a lot of new stuff that was put in while I was out, but it’s a part of basketball. I feel fine. it’s just a matter of me getting my wind back. Just continuing to get back into the motion with the team.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Suns star Devin Booker suffered a left hamstring strain Friday that will force him to miss tonight’s game and possibly longer, tweets Gerald Bourguet of The Step Back. “We’re really not sure,” coach Monty Williams said. “What I’ve been told is it could be day-to-day. Depending on how he feels, it could be another week.”
  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr is coordinating the minutes for rookie center James Wiseman to get him on the court as much as possible with the team’s veteran leaders, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic. So far, the No. 2 pick has played 267 minutes with Stephen Curry and 182 minutes with Draymond Green“If we’re going to be a championship contender the next few years, those guys have to learn to play together,” Kerr explained.
  • Lakers forward Jared Dudley is close to returning from a calf injury that has kept him out of action since January 8, according to Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register (Twitter link). Coach Frank Vogel said Dudley is probably “a game or two out” from being available. The 35-year-old has played in just six games this season.

Lakers Notes: Schroder, Davis, Dudley, Cap Room

Dennis Schröder expects to start with the Lakers, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. Schroder, who was acquired from the Thunder, said that was addressed by his representatives before the trade was completed. “I think my agent talked to the organization (about starting) before they was trading me,” he said “So, that’s that.” Schroder served a sixth-man role with Oklahoma City. His main competition for a starting job would presumably be Alex Caruso, though LeBron James is the de facto point guard and led the league in assists last season.

We have more on the Lakers:

  • Anthony Davis, who remains an unrestricted free agent, will meet with the team on Tuesday, according to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. Davis, who will joined by agent Rich Paul, is widely expected to sign a max deal of undetermined length during training camp.
  • Davis might wait to see if Giannis Antetokounmpo signs an extension with Milwaukee before he decides how to structure his contract, Brian Windhorst of ESPN suggests (video link). The Lakers could have a significant amount of cap flexibility if Davis signs a two-year contract with a player option, which would help them pursue the two-time MVP.  However, Antekounmpo doesn’t have to make a decision until December 21 and it’s doubtful Davis will want to wait that long.
  • Jared Dudley has agreed to re-sign for one more season and he has the power to block a trade under the one-year Bird rule, Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report tweets.
  • Dudley’s veteran minimum deal will leave the Lakers $2.9MM below the hard cap, Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (Twitter link). That would allow the club to add a player in mid-January or in early April after buyouts are executed around the league.

Jared Dudley Signs One-Year Contract With Lakers

DECEMBER 1: The Lakers’ signing of Dudley is now official, per Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).

NOVEMBER 30: Veteran forward Jared Dudley will sign a one-year, veteran’s minimum contract with the defending champion Lakers, Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe of ESPN tweet.

Dudley’s interest in rejoining the Lakers was reported earlier this month. The veteran’s minimum this season is $2,564,753.

Dudley, 35, has bounced around the league but won a ring this summer in Orlando. He appeared in 45 regular-season games with the Lakers, averaging 1.5 PPG and 1.2 RPG in 8.1 MPG. He also saw action in nine postseason games but did not score.

He’s also played for the Suns, Hornets, Clippers, Bucks, Wizards and Nets during a journeyman career that has spanned 892 games.

He’s well-respected in the locker room and adds another veteran option for coach Frank Vogel.

Free Agency Rumors: Lakers, Hornets, Pelicans, Baynes, Bazemore

The Lakers anticipate being “first in line” to talk to two of their veteran free agents, Dwight Howard and Avery Bradley, when free agency opens, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

Howard and Bradley are expected to draw interest from multiple other clubs, including perhaps the Warriors, but it sounds like L.A. has interest in bringing back both of them. The Lakers and veteran forward Jared Dudley also have mutual interest in a new deal, Scotto adds.

Here’s more from Scotto on free agency:

  • The Hornets are expected to be in the market for a free agent center, according to Scotto, who notes that the team will likely lose Bismack Biyombo and Willy Hernangomez in free agency.
  • Scotto echoes a rumor we heard earlier in the week, writing that the Pelicans are expected to show interest in free agent center Aron Baynes.
  • The Kings and Kent Bazemore are expected to have mutual interest in reaching a new deal, according to Scotto, who notes that the free agent swingman will likely speak with a number of teams once free agency begins.

And-Ones: Dudley, Season, Pitino, Silver

As the NBA and NBPA continue discussions on when next season should begin, veteran forward Jared Dudley took to social media and voiced his own opinion on the matter, explaining why any proposal that limits the 2020/21 schedule to 50 games shouldn’t be considered by either side.

“Can’t play 50 games .. Thats a hard no for the players!” Dudley wrote. “Has to be a min of 72.. the real question is what change in a week? The league kept saying January January.. Everybody knew how big Christmas was and Olympics being late July months ago.. TV just mentioned it now??

The NBA is offering a proposal that allows next season to start as early as December 22, one that multiple high-level players have resisted to date. according to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes (Twitter link). The players’ union prefers to start on Martin Luther King Jr. Day (January 18), but one report suggested the league would only offer a 50-game season if players insist on that start date. As of Friday, no 50-game proposal had been formally put forth.

By lowering the number of games played from 82 to 50, the salaries of players would be drastically reduced. However, by starting the season too soon, the league may risk the health of its players who recently played in Orlando — the Finals ended only three weeks ago.

Here are some other odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • New Iona coach Rick Pitino remains intent on coaching the Greek national team during next June’s qualifiers, he told Marc Stein of the New York Times (Twitter link). Pitino first announced his intention of coaching the team in November of 2019.
  • NBA commissioner Adam Silver will have to find a way to balance revenue with safety entering next season, Steve Popper of Newsday writes. It’s unclear how the league plans to proceed in terms of fan attendance, with the absence of spectators naturally costing a significant loss in revenue. Outside of attendance, both the NBA and NBPA have yet to reach agreement on when next season should begin.

Jared Dudley Explains How Proposed ‘Bubble’ Would Work

Assuming the NBA can resume its season, the league appears to be leaning strongly toward doing so in one or two centralized “bubble” locations, where players and teams will stay and play their games for two or three months. Discussing that scenario during a video conference call on Wednesday, Lakers forward Jared Dudley explained that players and others inside the bubble wouldn’t be forced into quarantine during their time there.

“You will be allowed to leave,” Dudley said, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “Now just because you leave, if we’re going to give you that leeway, if you come back with corona, you can’t play.”

[RELATED: NBA Discussing Possibility Of July Return]

As Dudley noted – citing discussions with commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts – the plan is for frequent COVID-19 testing to take place within that bubble, which Silver has referred to as a “campus”-like environment in which players can spend time at hotels, gyms, and dining areas. However, the veteran forward suspects that not every player will be satisfied to remain within that limited space for the duration of the season.

“When you’re dealing with 300 different players — if you’ve seen (The Last Dance), every team’s got a (Dennis) Rodman. He just doesn’t have green and blue hair,” Dudley said. “There’s always someone who’s outside the box, who does that, takes the risk and says, ‘Hey, listen, man, I’m healthy, and I feel good.'”

Still, Dudley doesn’t think there are many players who would take that risk, pointing out that contracting the coronavirus during an outside excursion would force the player out of action for at least a couple weeks and would put his teammates at risk. As such, there will be “added pressure” not to do so. Dudley also believes that individual teams, like his Lakers, would impress upon their players that they don’t want them to leave, even if the NBA doesn’t explicitly prevent it.

“Bron, AD and all the top guys we have, we’ll be wrapping them in a bubble and not letting them go anywhere,” Dudley said. “You’ll have that be a team rule. Now, it won’t be a league, an NBA rule, but you’d want to say, ‘Listen, guys, we’ve come too far. We’re going to put our family on hold. … It’s going to be hard for two months, but it’s something we have to sacrifice.'”

As we relayed on Wednesday, Walt Disney World – near Orlando – has emerged as a “clear frontrunner” to host a potential NBA return. McMenamin notes within his report that ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe have heard the league is considering a two-site format which would also include Las Vegas.

Pacific Notes: Kings, Cook, Warriors, Clippers

The Kings will place more than one third of their full-time workers on four-month furloughs beginning June 1 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee reports. The employees were informed in an email from President of Business Operations John Rinehart.  The furloughs will impact approximately 100 workers but the front office, health and performance, and scouting/analytics staffs will not be affected.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Lakers guard Quinn Cook detailed all the precautions being taken at the team’s practice facility after it was reopened. In an Instagram post relayed by The Los Angeles Times’ Tania Ganguli, Cook said even his shoes were not exempt. “We had to leave whatever we wore, whatever shoes and flip-flops we wore, we had to leave them outside,” he said. “We had to wash our hands as soon as we walk in the door. Once we get inside, all of our stuff is kind of right there on the court.” Cook and Devontae Cacok were the only two players to use the facility on Saturday, according to Ganguli. Veterans Jared Dudley and Danny Green were planning to use the facility on Monday.
  • Guards Derrick Rose, Tomas Satoransky and Reggie Bullock are among the guards the Warriors could target with their $17MM trade exception, Grant Liffmann of NBC Sports Bay Area opines. The Warriors obtained the large exception in the Andre Iguodala trade with Memphis last summer.
  • The Clippers’ workout plan during the stoppage of play should have them well-prepared whenever practices and games resume, as Jovan Buha of The Athletic details. The Clippers held weekly group workouts over Zoom as well as chats with famous athletes, along with creating personalized home workout rooms for each player. The organization ordered equipment to ensure each player could work out from home via video calls with individualized player-coaches and strength trainers.

Coronavirus Notes: Tolliver, Dudley, Testing, Asterisk

Add Anthony Tolliver to the list of players who believe there’s strong support throughout the league for finishing the season. Tolliver, a member of the NBPA executive committee, offered some insight into the players’ position during an interview with Darren Wolfson of KSTP (video link).

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that guys want to play, and I think guys want to do it in a safe way,” Tolliver said. “We need to figure out a way where we’re not putting the assistant coaches, especially the older people who would be in that environment, as long as we’re not putting them in serious health risk — I think that’s going to be the biggest key. Guys want to play ball. Guys don’t want to lose money. I think that as long as we have the protocols in place that everybody’s confident in, that’s whenever things will start to pick up some momentum.” 

It was already an eventful year for Tolliver, even before the league shutdown. He left the Timberwolves last summer to sign with the Trail Blazers, then was traded to the Kings in January. Sacramento waived him a month later, and he signed a 10-day contract with the Grizzlies on March 2. Tolliver says he was planning to ink a second 10-day deal on March 12, but the league hiatus got in the way.

There’s more coronavirus-related news:

  • Lakers forward Jared Dudley believes the season will start again in July, probably in a bubble atmosphere in Las Vegas or Orlando, relays Steve Popper of Newsday. Appearing on ESPN Radio in New York, Dudley said the amount of money at stake will drive the league to find a solution. “We’re going to be safe in this bubble because of the testing — we’re going to be doing them before every game,” he said. “That’s why Adam Silver wants to wait another month or two to be able to sign off on it because he wants everybody in society to be able to get tests first. And second, the data will show the virus that between the ages of 19 and 35, it’s what, 0.001% that someone has died and that’s not even a professional athlete.”
  • The NBA’s willingness to push back the start of next season increases the likelihood that this season will be completed, writes Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. He adds that the decision to permit asymptomatic testing in some cities shows that the league is serious about playing again.
  • The unusual circumstances surrounding the end of the season means this year’s champion should receive an asterisk, especially if the playoffs are affected because some players have to be quarantined for two weeks, argues Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. However, ESPN’s Jalen Rose disagrees, telling Mike Singer of the Denver Post that champions have always had to overcome some type of obstacles.

Coronavirus Notes: Dudley, Bubble, Heat, China

Jared Dudley, who serves as a Players Association representative for the Lakers, revealed that the NBA might be willing to play until October to finish the season (hat tip to The Sporting News). Responding late on Friday night to a comment by ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that the league is willing to extend the season through Labor Day, Dudley tweeted“I heard even Oct from Adam Silver today…”

The league has been talking with players and owners for weeks to determine a workable plan to save the season, and this is the latest potential completion date that has been made public. It reflects the growing optimism that has been reported throughout the league since a conference call involving the commissioner and the players Friday night.

There’s more coronavirus-related news:

  • Players aren’t excited about the proposed “bubble” concept that would isolate everyone in a host city such as Las Vegas or Orlando, Shelburne said in an appearance on ESPN’s Dickerson & Hood radio show (Twitter link). “Players don’t really want to do a bubble,” she said. “They would much rather stay in their home cities, fly privately to and from wherever they’re going and be home with their families, not have tons of restrictions … players were really against the idea of being cooped up in a hotel for two months, three months or however long that would be.” She adds that strictly enforcing quarantine rules in a bubble setting could become problematic.
  • The Heat have received formal clearance to begin player workouts at AmericanAirlines Arena, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Miami-Dade County issued an amendment to an emergency order that permits “use of facilities owned or leased by a professional sports franchise, solely by employees of such franchise for training purposes.” Players are expected to begin using the facility on Wednesday.
  • Chinese Basketball Association president Yao Ming said the league is considering three options for resuming play, relays Ennio Terrasi Borghesan of Sportando. In an interview with CCTV, Ming explained that the league is still deciding whether to finish a full schedule, shorten the season, or go straight to the playoffs. Under any setup, players will be confined to hotels and fans will not be admitted to games.
  • Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports contends it would be a mistake for the NBA to move opening day to Christmas on a permanent basis.