Once NBA players have been in the league long enough, the opportunity to win a championship becomes more important than the money they’re making. Jared Dudley, who has played nine NBA seasons, isn’t quite there yet.
Indeed, for Dudley, 30, money trumps role.
“A lot of people find that hard to believe or maybe it’s too blunt,” Dudley said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “You can be traded anytime. I’ve been traded four times in four years. I’ve been on the Clippers when they were trying to contend for a championship, and I’ve been on Milwaukee when they were the worst team. If it’s similar money, then it goes by your role. So you’re hoping the team that pays you the most values you the most, but sometimes that’s not always the case.”
Dudley, a former first-round pick out of Boston College, scoffed at the Celtics’ desire to sign him to a one-year $5 million deal, tweeting, “I love my Boston people but that 1 yr 5 mil not goin to get it done lol”.
“Yeah, that’s not getting it done,” Dudley said, laughing. “I’m like you on social media. I like to interact with the fans. Usually a lot of players are private about their free agency. I’m not really private when it comes to that. I’m also not Kevin Durant, so it’s a little bit different. But overall, I like to have fun. It’s a good time to be a free agent. It’s exciting.”
What isn’t exciting, at least for non-Warriors fans, is the NBA Finals. Golden State has dismantled Cleveland thus far, winning the first two games by a Finals-record 48 points. The Cavs have been held under 100 points in nine of their 10 games against the Warriors.
“Cleveland is facing a team that’s probably the most versatile defensive team in the last decade,” Dudley said. “They can literally switch every ball screen. They can switch all screen-and-rolls and then make LeBron and Kyrie play one-on-one basketball, where it’s very tough making contested shots. They can go small and they don’t lose the rebound edge. Most teams that go small, Cleveland would pound them on the boards. That’s not been the case.”
When Cleveland won Games 2 and 3 in the 2015 Finals, James usually played the 4, Tristan Thompson got rebounds, and Iman Shumpert and Matthew Dellavedova played tough, scrappy defense.
“Defensively, hey got enough stops (in those) games,” Dudley said. “The team they have (this year), their starting lineup doesn’t give them the luxury of getting enough stops. And if you don’t get enough stops versus them, it’s over. If both teams play their best, the Warriors are going to win. They got to make this a scrappy game. They can’t let these role players go (wild). They want to trap Steph every time, (but) I believe you just can’t give Steph the same look. I think you got to trap him sometime, sometimes you got to switch, sometimes you got to go over, you can go ice, where you’re forcing him to the baseline – you just can’t give him one look. Even with all that, he’s still the MVP and that’s why they’re probably going to win their second straight championship.
“I just think it’s a bad matchup for Cleveland,” Dudley continued. “If they would have played the Thunder, I would have actually picked them to win the Finals. But they simply can’t beat the Warriors in a seven-game series.”