There's not much good news to be found in the NBA lockout, but Jared Dudley isn't letting it stop him. He's been one of the leaders among NBA players finding other work in the US while the labor dispute rolls on. Dudley has been one of the primary spokesmen for the Impact Basketball tournaments, the first scheduled for next week.
According to the Arizona Republic's Paul Coro, Dudley will play in an Impact tournament, along with 40-60 other NBA players, including Stephen Curry, John Wall, Zach Randolph, Stephen Jackson and Kyle Lowry, starting Monday, September 12 and running through September 23.
Dudley says he will try to recruit fellow Suns Josh Childress, Channing Frye and Aaron Brooks to play on his team, as the tournament attempts to keep NBA teammates together on the same team. The games will be broadcast on the internet, will contain only NBA players and be played by NBA rules.
This league (they're making a point not to call it a "league", for legal reasons) might be entertaining but, more important than that from a Suns fan viewpoint, Dudley is showing himself to be a leader. This is what we want from our players, isn't it? Dudley could be leaving to play overseas, or simply staying at home and working out, but instead he's taking the initiative to play games against real NBA competition and inviting his teammates to do the same.
I don't know what impact (pun intended) this tournament, and potential future Impact tournaments, will have on CBA negotiations, but I very much like the fact that Dudley is doing all he can to get his work in. Many of us here don't want Dudley as starting SG next season and would prefer him as 6th man, but he won't be denied quite so easily.
As per Coro:
Dudley has three-hour sessions at Impact six days a week in the off-season for shooting, playing games and lifting weights. The clientele, such as Rudy Gay last week, challenges him as he aspires to start next season for Phoenix. A slot could be open at off-guard with the Suns expected to waive Vince Carter once a collective-bargaining agreement is set, if not come up with a creative trade alternative for him.
I'm eager to see Jared Dudley continue to improve himself. As great of a role player as he's been for us, he still has plenty of doubters as he tries to become a starter. I'm one of those doubters but I'll be happy to be proven wrong, and Dudz is working his way to do that.