LeBron James on Jared Dudley Reportedly Joining Mavericks' Coaching Staff: 'F--k'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 24, 2021

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 12: 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)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James apparently wasn't kept in the loop before Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported Jared Dudley agreed to join the Dallas Mavericks' coaching staff.

Responding to a tweet about the developing story, James congratulated Dudley but could not avoid expressing his surprise (warning: tweets contain profanity):

LeBron James @KingJames

Excuse my language but still one hurt!! For many reasons that you wouldn’t understand. 🤦🏾‍♂️🤦🏾‍♂️🤦🏾‍♂️🤦🏾‍♂️🤦🏾‍♂️

Dudley was a member of the Lakers for the past two seasons, logging a total of 445 minutes in 57 appearances. Although he wasn't a regular in the team's rotation on the court, James had high praise for Dudley and the 6'6" forward's selflessness in January:

Spectrum SportsNet @SpectrumSN

"Dudz is one of those guys, no matter what the team needs... he's ready for whatever. That's a diamond in the rough for a championship team." LeBron on the impact of <a href="https://twitter.com/JaredDudley619?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JaredDudley619</a>. <a href="https://t.co/3Abaruhzc3">pic.twitter.com/3Abaruhzc3</a>

Based on LeBron's reaction Tuesday, it seemed like a return to L.A. in some form for the 36-year-old was a topic of discussion. Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes reported Aug. 17 the Lakers didn't appear to have room for Dudley on their active roster, though.

Given the relatively small return he provided on the court, one would expect Dudley's decision to be immaterial to Los Angeles' pursuit of an 18th NBA championship. However, James turns 37 in December, so he may not want to leave anything—no matter how small—to chance for the season ahead.

Former NBA three-point specialist Mike Miller once told Haynes that James took particular exception to his departure from the Miami Heat in 2013. Haynes described it as "one of the first times he began to question the Heat's brass."

There's nothing to indicate the Lakers pushed Dudley out the door in the same way the Heat used the amnesty provision on Miller.

But LeBron obviously takes every facet of team-building very seriously.