Jared Dudley will become a free agent July 1, but technically, he’s still under contract with the Wizards.
Dudley — a free agent who has said he’d like to return to Washington — was recently asked by Kevin Sheehan whether he sees the Wizards landing Durant this summer.
“I realistically don’t,” Dudley said. “I hope for the fans they do, because he’s from there, and he would bring such excitement. They’d be right behind Cleveland, right there with them to be able to contend. I don’t see it though.”
This is an under-discussed side of free agency. Wizards ownership and management want Durant. Not every Washington player necessarily does.
If the Wizards sign Durant, it’d almost certainly cost Dudley his job. They’d need to renounce him to clear cap space.
If Durant signs elsewhere, Washington re-signing Dudley might be the best use of its money. The Wizards, in that scenario, might even offer him more than he could get elsewhere.
This is why not everyone recruits star free agents – new players eat into the finite resources minutes, shots and money. This is part of the reason players don’t tank – they don’t want the team replacing them with a higher pick. This is why veteran leadership is an overrated concept – not everyone is willing to train someone to overtake them.
Dudley is stating something that I think is true. Durant doesn’t seem that keen on accepting the burden of playing for his hometown team. But Dudley might also be projecting his desired outcome onto his prediction.