The newest Nets player first envisioned wearing the Brooklyn uniform two years ago.
The Nets first tried to sign Jared Dudley two years ago. General manager Sean Marks was in contact at the start of that free-agency period with the offer of a two-year deal. The 6-7 power forward with the keen outside shot liked the idea of playing in then-new coach Kenny Atkinson’s offensive system so much that he and his wife looked at places to live.
It didn’t happen. Dudley got an offer for a second-stint in Phoenix and on a longer contract and took it. Then late last week the Suns sent Dudley and a protected 2021 second-round pick to Brooklyn for Darrell Arthur.
“Brooklyn and myself have had [mutual] interest in the last couple of years,” Dudley said at an introductory news conference in Brooklyn on Wednesday. “[It was] probably one of my top priorities coming here two years ago in free agency — if it wasn’t for Phoenix coming in at the very end . . . The cool thing for me is I’ve always wanted to live in New York. So to me it’s like coming full circle with Kenny Atkinson. It’s one of the reasons why two years ago I thought about this place: for him primarily and his coaching style. Sometimes in life stuff comes back around.”
Dudley, who has made 39.6 percent on three-pointers over his 13 seasons, said he’s been told he will come off the bench as a ‘stretch-4’ in Atkinson’s high ball-movement offense. The 33-year-old with a reputation for playing hard will also be asked to be an example for younger players.
The Boston College product seemed especially enthusiastic about playing with point guard D’Angelo Russell and center Jarrett Allen. “I think those two are the cornerstones and we all have to fall in place and play our roles around them,” he said.
Dudley joins the Nets coming off a season where he averaged career-low 3.2 points in a career-low 14.3 minutes. He’d had foot surgery in the offseason before the campaign and said he played at close to 260 pounds. On Wednesday he said he was down to 245 and hoped to be at 235 for the season.
Barclays Center should also be a good environment for Dudley to shoot in. For his career, he’s made 40 percent on three-pointers in the building and that would be very good production for the Nets.
Asked if he looks at Brooklyn as a team that should reach the coming postseason, Dudley replied “does this team have the talent? Close enough.”
“I think defensively we have to take the next step and offensively [improve] shot selection. The Eastern Conference is open for a team to come and grab it . . . I definitely think it should be a goal.”