http://www.jsonline.com/sports/bucks/jared-dudley-says-jason-kidd-is-up-to-leadership-challenge-b99598820z1-333942851.htmlJared Dudley and Zaza Pachulia are gone, traded to Washington and Dallas, respectively.
The loss of the two well-spoken veterans leaves a leadership void for the young Milwaukee Bucks as they enter their second season under coach Jason Kidd.
Dudley was in town Saturday with the Washington Wizards and said he sees the Bucks finding a solution.
"It is going to take a little bit," Dudley said in the locker room after Washington's 105-101 preseason victory. "They lose a little leadership, but they are going to be able to have some of the young players be able to play.
"Their big thing will be incorporating Jabari (Parker) back into the mix. But that's a good problem to have. It will be an interesting challenge for J-Kidd, but I bet he's up to the challenge."
The Bucks acquired Dudley from the Los Angeles Clippers in a 2014 trade, and he played a pivotal role in helping the team make a 26-game improvement over the previous season while claiming the sixth-seeded spot in the Eastern Conference.
The 30-year-old Dudley underwent surgery in the off-season after enduring back pain following the all-star break. He was able to contribute during the Bucks' playoff series against Chicago but was far from 100%.
"No, I wasn't surprised," Dudley said of the trade to the Wizards. "My agent and I talked about it beforehand. With Jabari coming back and (Greg) Monroe, it was best for both parties at that time. For me, I was getting ready to have surgery. This team was more willing to wait."
The Wizards had a need for a veteran forward after losing Paul Pierce to the Clippers in free agency. Pierce made a strong impact in Washington last season while helping mentor young guards John Wall and Bradley Beal.
"When you look at what Paul Pierce did for those guys, he (Dudley) is in the same mold," Kidd said.
Dudley did not play against the Bucks on Saturday, but he hopes to be back in the lineup when the teams meet in the second regular-season game on Oct. 30 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
"I've had no pain since seven weeks and I'm at 12 weeks now," Dudley said. "I'll hopefully play the last two preseason games and get ready to go.
"I thought when I was here and I was pain-free that I played really, really well."
Dudley had a remarkable game in Atlanta in late December when he went 10 for 10 from the field, including 4 for 4 from three-point range. His three-point percentage dipped after his injury, but he still wound up at 38.5% for the season and 46.8% overall while averaging 7.2 points and 3.1 rebounds in 72 games.
Dudley, a careful observer of league transactions, was impressed with the Bucks being able to sign the 6-foot-11 Monroe to a maximum contract.
"I was surprised just because they were going against two major markets," Dudley said of the Bucks beating out the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers. "Obviously, he (Monroe) wanted to make the playoffs. This team is playoff-ready in the Eastern Conference.
"You know what? It shows a lot about the foundation we set here. The new arena helps a little bit, too. The new owners did a good job recruiting, too. I heard about Marlon Wayans (making a recruiting video).
"Those owners were first-class when I was here. They took care of people, so I can only imagine what they do with recruits."