The Suns were trying to negotiate a buyout of the final year of Jared Dudley’s contract worth $9.5 million this summer when the Nets stepped up and traded for the 11-year veteran. Dudley plays sparingly these days, but he gave no thought to retirement or accepting a buyout at the time of the deal, and the Nets saw a great fit for a stretch power forward with a career three-point percentage of .396.
“Not one time was waiving an option for me,” Dudley said after practice on Friday. “I mean, I’m not giving any money back. I almost signed here two years ago. It was down to Brooklyn and Phoenix. For someone with a high IQ like myself to fit them and help them out, I thought it was a perfect fit.”
Coach Kenny Atkinson said he and general manager Sean Marks viewed Dudley as filling a vital need for shooting from the four-spot to space the floor. But as an assertive veteran leader, Dudley also might contribute as much in the locker room as on the floor. The same might be said of three other proven veterans the Nets acquired in the offseason: Ed Davis, Kenneth Faried and Shabazz Napier.
“It’s important,” Atkinson said of their veteran presence. “These guys that have been in the league like Jared Dudley, how do they take care of their bodies? What’s their mental approach? It’s just those side conversations they have with younger players. On the court, I saw it today with Jared and Ed. They have a lot of tricks. They’ve survived in this league because of their basketball IQ. That’s a big part of having a long career.”
Dudley said Napier and Davis spoke to the team during Friday’s practice, and DeMarre Carroll is another who has filled that veteran leadership role since joining the Nets last season. Because the Nets’ young core players are on their first contracts and still learning the ropes, Dudley sees an opportunity for him to contribute his experience not only with his shooting ability but with his smarts on the defensive end.
“I’m a four where distributing is obviously a strong suit and I think IQ when it comes to the defensive end, being able to call switches,” Dudley said. “Everywhere I’ve been, I’ve controlled a lot of defenses, transition defense, putting guys in the right position. I think that’s one thing they lacked when it comes to that defensively with guys being assertive and pointing people in the right direction. I think it’s a great fit for me. I’m looking forward to it.”
Notes & quotes: As part of a team bonding, the Nets visited the 9-11 Memorial Friday. “I think it’ll be a great learning chance,” Atkinson said. “I’ve been there, so I know how emotional I was. It’ll be interesting to see how [they react].”