Jared Dudley: Free Agent Option For The Utah Jazz?


Apr 8, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Jared Dudley (9) congratulates teammates during the third quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: Dudley has elected to exercise the final year option on his contract and remain with the Bucks.

According to reports, the Utah Jazz could make a play for San Antonio Spurs wing Danny Green in free agency. While Green is a fine player and would undoubtedly improve the team, such a marriage could prove troublesome.

Green would take important minutes from Rodney Hood and Alec Burks. Utah’s young wings have incredible potential and their growth could be stunted by Green’s addition. One might also question Green’s potential cost, even with an escalating salary cap.

So if signing Green becomes counter-productive, who should the Jazz look to with their free agent dollars in the coming weeks? Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune was asked as much on Twitter and offered a name that I agree with–

In many ways, Jared Dudley serves as a blueprint for the kind of player the Jazz need to bolster depth for the playoff push next season. He guards multiple positions on the floor, plays with fire and can splash the net from three-point range. Moreover, he wouldn’t demand the 30-35 minutes per night that Green would.

In April, I cited the Bucks forward as a top-five free agent option for the Jazz. A look at the numbers makes it apparent that he’s worthy of the distinction.

Time and time again, team officials have labeled shooting as their greatest area of need. Last season, Dudley connected on nearly 39 percent of his three-point attempts. For his career, that percentage drifts closer to 40 percent. For the record, that places him 46th on the league’s all-time rankings in that department, ahead of three-and-D stalwarts like Bruce Bowen and Wesley Matthews.

Dudley is no slouch in the other half of that three-and-D equation either. Last season, Bucks opponents scored only 96.8 points per 100 possessions when Dudley was on the floor. Though his six-foot-seven, 220-pound frame places him on the wing, Dudley can defend in the frontcourt and out on the perimeter.

Given the injury to Jabari Parker, Dudley often found himself matched up against power forwards and was able to hold his own. The 30-year-old also continued to defend twos and threes for the Bucks. He’s a great team defender; the kind of player that can often be heard calling out coverages and helping to get his teammates into position.

While Dudley could be an excellent bench option for the Jazz, securing his services may prove problematic. Dudley has an early termination option in his contract and must decide whether or not to execute it and become a free agent by July 1.

As of this writing, Dudley’s camp has made no clear indication of what he intends to do. However, he was quoted in the past as saying he believes there was an “80 or 90 percent chance” he would return to Milwaukee.

Still, with the amount of money available on the open market and teams looking to use their cap space in advance of the cap spike next year, Dudley could decide that the ETO is the way to go.

If he does so, the Jazz would be well served in considering Dudley as an option to help quell their need for depth and shooting.

Next: Is Danny Green a Fit with the Utah Jazz?

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