The Dallas Mavericks are adding 14-year NBA veteran Jared Dudley to their coaching staff, something that Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James is pretty bummed to find out. Dudley announced on Twitter Tuesday afternoon that the reports from earlier in the day were true — that he was retiring as a player and starting his coaching career with the Mavericks.
When James found out, he took to Twitter to share his feelings about the move, writing “Congrats to my guy if this true, which [it] probably is! But man!! F—.” In a follow-up tweet James explained his uncensored initial reaction: “Excuse my language but this one hurt!! For many reasons that you wouldn’t understand.”
For his part, Dudley thanked the Lakers organization, and specifically thanked James, Anthony Davis and team owner Jeanie Buss, who he said “without … I don’t join [the Lakers] or win a [ring].”
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But let’s rewind a bit. It might be surprising to see James blurt out expletives on social media over a teammate who played in just 12 games last season, or who averaged just eight minutes the year the Lakers won a championship. But this isn’t about losing an important player who impacts the score as much as it is about losing someone who has garnered a reputation for being the ideal end-of-the-bench veteran who imparts their wisdom on every guy on the roster.
When James was asked about the type of impact Dudley provides for the Lakers as an end-of-the-bench veteran last season, he gave high praise to the veteran forward.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to play with some real professionals when it comes to that role, and guys that are stars in their role,” James said. “[Dudley] is another one of those guys, that whatever a team needs — I mean literally whatever a team needs he is ready for whatever both on and off the floor. That is a diamond in the rough to have for a championship-aspiring ball club.”
So while Dudley’s stats may not suggest that he has been an integral piece for the Lakers for the past two seasons, it’s clear that if James made a point to speak about his new role, he made a significant impact.