LOS ANGELES — Jared Dudley is returning to the Los Angeles Lakers on a one-year, veterans minimum contract, his agent, Mark Bartelstein of Priority Sports, told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe.
The 35-year-old will earn $2.6 million in what will be his 14th season in the league.
Dudley appeared in 45 games for the Lakers last season, his first year with the team, and averaged 1.5 points and 1.2 rebounds. He also appeared in nine playoff games during the Lakers’ championship run.
Showing the good-natured sense of humor that made him a locker room favorite, Dudley reacted to the news on Twitter on Monday.
” I’m back.” ( Jordan voice) 😂😂
— Jared Dudley (@JaredDudley619) November 30, 2020
Apart from bringing a career 3-point percentage of 39.3% and 42 games of postseason experience to the mix, Dudley became an important part of the Lakers’ team culture last season by organizing dinners and gatherings on the road and serving as a mentor to Kyle Kuzma.
The Lakers now have 13 players under contract for next season, with Anthony Davis expected to occupy one of the final two spots once he signs an extension with the team.
Portland Trail Blazers’ Jusuf Nurkic has wrist surgery, out at least 6 weeks
Nurkic was injured in last Thursday’s 111-87 loss to the visiting Indiana Pacers.
He could be seen holding his wrist after swiping at the ball in the third quarter, and he fell to the floor after contact under Indiana’s basket. During a timeout, he went to the locker room and did not return.
The 7-foot Bosnian center was averaging 10.3 points and 7.6 rebounds heading into the game.
Nurkic missed much of the first half of last season after breaking his left leg in a game in March 2019. He returned to the team to play in the the bubble in Orlando, Florida, after the season was put on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic.
‘The soul of our team comes from Oakland’
The Golden State Warriors reside in San Francisco now, but for many of the players and coaches who brought championships to the Bay Area in recent years, the connection to Oakland — the city where the team played for 47 years and recently went to five straight NBA Finals inside Oracle Arena — remains stronger than ever. Those roots were clear as Warriors personnel discussed what it meant to them to be wearing their new “Oakland Forever” jerseys — with Oakland emblazoned across their chest — which will debut during Wednesday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs.
“That’s fire,” Warriors forward Draymond Green said during a video conference with reporters after Monday night’s win at the Los Angeles Lakers. “You know, I rock with Oakland; that’s my second home. The soul of our team comes from Oakland. That’s just kind of what it is. The soul of this organization is built in Oakland; that’s just the reality.”
The jerseys, which the “We Believe” Warriors made famous during a 2007 playoff run, are blue with Oakland in gold lettering with an orange outline. They are part of the City Edition collection that Nike puts together each year throughout the league.
“I love the jerseys,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after Tuesday’s practice. “I think they’re really good-looking, and the fact that they say Oakland on them is just awesome. I will forever have five years of incredible memories of playing at Oracle and practicing in Oakland every day at our facility, living in the East Bay.
“Those guys are right: Oakland will forever be a huge part of our identity and our roots. We’re a Bay Area team. Obviously, the team played in San Francisco before they played [in Oakland], and so we take a lot of pride in representing the entire Bay. But Oakland will always have a special place in our hearts.”
The Warriors moved into their new home, Chase Center in San Francisco, prior to the 2019-20 season. While staff members understood the relocation, given the massive revenue possibilities in the sparkling new building that cost over $1 billion to build, it was tough for many to leave the East Bay because of their affinity for the community they grew to call home.
For Warriors star Stephen Curry, the jerseys are a reminder of his NBA beginning. The Warriors took the Davidson product with the seventh pick in the 2009 NBA draft, making him the last player on the current roster to have worn the ‘We Believe’ jersey during his initial season in the league.
“They were fire,” Curry said Monday night. “But that was the old material; they were heavy as hell. That was the one thing I do remember; you put those on, versus how they make them now, it’s night and day. But the look, it’s just so classic. When you think of old school, you think of this franchise, Oakland, the expression of what we were, those jerseys are front and center, front of mind.”
The Warriors wore the white version of the “We Believe” jerseys during the final regular-season game at Oracle Arena during the 2018-19 season, but this will be the first time the group can wear a jersey that actually says Oakland on it.
“Last time we wore them, the last regular season game in ’19 at Oracle, it was just an amazing moment to bring those back,” Curry said. “Obviously, to have Oakland across the chest now, it’s special. We have a lot of great memories there on that side of the [Bay] Bridge. Pay respect to that era of Warrior basketball. And it’s obviously special for me because my rookie year; I was the only one on this team that wore ’em, so it’s pretty special.”
Caris LeVert says trade to Indiana Pacers ‘could’ve possibly saved me’ after mass found on kidney
Though LeVert is out indefinitely, the 26-year-old sees the situation as something bigger than basketball.
“I didn’t have any symptoms. I was playing in games. I hadn’t missed any games this season yet. I was feeling 100% healthy,” LeVert said. “So, in a way, this trade definitely showed and revealed what was going on in my body, so I’m definitely looking at it from that side and definitely humbled to know that this trade could’ve possibly saved me in the long run.”
LeVert was included in the four-team deal, which was finalized Saturday, that also sent James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets and former Pacers All-Star Victor Oladipo to the Houston Rockets. Prior to the deal being completed, however, a thorough team physical and medical tests revealed the mass, which he had no idea about.
“To me the most important thing is to get my body healthy and make sure I live a long life,” LeVert said. “Before basketball, I think that’s the most important thing so, for me, I’m not really looking at that side of things.
“Obviously, I want to play as soon as possible. I’m a competitor, I love to play the game. But for me, I think making sure I’m good health-wise is most important. So, as far as timeline and everything like that, we’ll definitely figure it out some time in the future. But right now we just don’t have those answers.”
For LeVert, it is another obstacle to overcome in his young life.
On April 4, 2010, when Caris LeVert was just 15, his father Darryl Sr. died of heart failure at age 46, and LeVert and his younger brother Darryl discovered him inside their home in Pickerington, Ohio. His mother, Kim, also battles multiple sclerosis, but they’re attacking the situation with a positive mindset, despite admitting that it’s been a “rough week.”
“For me, I try to take the positive out of every situation. If you guys knew my mom, you would never guess that she had MS or anything wrong with her,” LeVert said. “She’s a one-of-a-kind, very special lady, and anyone who knows her or even had one conversation with her, will tell you that. So I think I get it a lot from her, to be honest with you. But I was raised the right way by her and my father before he passed away, and that’s just how I’m wired.
“I have a lot of faith in God. I know that everything is not perfect, but I feel like, in life, it’s just how you react to certain things. It’s not what happens to you.”
Support from family and the Pacers organization has been helpful for LeVert throughout this process as he awaits further medical results to see what plan of action to take.
“We don’t know if it’s cancerous yet, but like I said, we’re still waiting for some of the results,” LeVert said.
Ironically, LeVert was originally selected 20th overall by the Pacers in the 2016 NBA draft before being traded to the Brooklyn Nets, where he spent part of five seasons. In 12 games this season, he is averaging 18.5 points, 6.0 assists and 4.3 rebounds in 27.8 minutes.
He’ll wear No. 22 in Indiana when he’s able to suit back up, which is something that Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard and coach Nate Bjorkgren remain optimistic about.
“This organization’s gonna step up, help him get through this, get him back on the court,” Pritchard said. “I’m super confident that we’re gonna have him on the court.”
Bjorkgren sees him fitting in seamlessly as a 6-foot-6 wing that can handle the ball and play positions 1-4 when he’s able to return. He shared those sentiments when Pritchard and the front office consulted him in the midst of a road trip before making the deal.
“You guys have heard me say it a number of times, but he’s a stud,” Bjorkgren said following Tuesday’s practice. “And not only on the basketball court, but off the court, he’s even a better person.”
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