Los Angeles Lakers forward Jared Dudley acknowledged that the Purple and Gold heard all the trash talk from the Los Angeles Clippers and that they were motivated after the comments made by Paul George. The Clippers, who signed George and Leonard in the summer of 2019, entered last season as one of the top favorites to win it all but ended up blowing a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference Semifinals against the Denver Nuggets.
The Lakers beat the Miami Heat 4-2 in the NBA Finals to win their 17th NBA Championship and the first one since 2010. "We hear some of those guys talking about how they're the team to beat in L.A." Dudley, along with co-author Carvell Wallace, wrote in their 42-page book, "Inside the NBA Bubble: A Championship Season under Quarantine," released this week.
"It's fine if Kawhi [Leonard] says stuff like that. He's defending a championship. We don't trip if someone like Patrick Beverley is talking trash; that's how he feeds his family. We get it. We respect the hustle.
"But we think it's disrespectful for Paul George, who hasn't won, to put himself on the level of [LeBron James] and [Anthony Davis]. This motivates us."
George absolutely motivated the Lakers
"Anyone can say anything," Dudley told reporters on a video conference call after practice.
"It's what we use as motivation. And sometimes, if ever you remember Michael Jordan, all the certain stuff that he used as motivation for him. It wasn't like they were wrong. It's what I view." Dudley, a veteran role player, was asked if he was being hypocritical in calling out an All-Star player like George.
"So, giving me the right [to talk trash back]? I don't know. I don't know what gives me the right. Fourteen years, 900 games, played with over 25 Hall of Famers. Future coach, future GM, I think I put a little bit of work in where I could talk about it," Dudley said.
"Doesn't mean what I say is right." Dudley acknowledged that George is a great player but noted he went a bit too far with his comments. "My comments were more about how we viewed the motivation," Dudley explained.
"Paul George is a hell of a player, an MVP candidate. Doesn't mean that what he said wasn't wrong. But the difference is ... how you see how someone like LeBron and AD, them not saying anything. Them saying, 'You know what, we'll find out who the king of L.A. is on the court' last year."