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Hoops Rumors Community Shootaround 3/30/16

Lakers rookie D’Angelo Russell has reportedly upset the bulk of the team’s roster thanks to a prank gone terribly wrong. Teammates are ostracizing Russell, who recorded a private conversation in which Nick Young spoke about being with women other than his fiancee, the Australian rapper Iggy Azalea, according to a report by Baxter Holmes and Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Some within Lakers brass are upset with Russell, too, but they’ve left the matter to the players thus far, Holmes and Stein write. Coach Byron Scott has notoriously harped on Russell’s maturity, work ethic and attitude, and several team sources who spoke with Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News had levied the same criticisms even before the video was exposed.

Young and Russell were friends, with the swingman at times publicly sticking up for the 2015 No. 2 overall pick, but sources who spoke with Medina believe the now-strained friendship is beyond repair. Young went out of his way to avoid crossing Russell’s path at Staples Center before Friday’s game, according to Medina. No Lakers would sit with Russell for a recent breakfast meeting, Holmes and Stein hear. Another time, Lou Williams stood up and walked away when Russell sat next to him in the locker room, according to Holmes and Stein.

The sanctity and privacy of the locker room is one of the most important unwritten rules in all of team sports. Athletes are under the microscope from media and fans almost constantly and the locker room is supposed to act as a buffer and a safe haven where players can be free to relax and be themselves. Russell’s actions, while likely not malicious in intent, definitely crossed a line, and it remains to be seen if the relationship between Russell and his teammates can be repaired.

Russell has had a difficult rookie campaign on the court as well, struggling to make the jump to the NBA as a point guard after one season at Ohio State. He’s appeared in 72 contests, including 40 as a starter, and is averaging 13.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists on the year. His play of late has shown improvement, but this rift between him and his teammates could set back the progress of the entire franchise. Chemistry and trust are vital to the success of any team, even more so between a point guard and his running mates, and if the rest of the Lakers are freezing him out off the court, it’s fair to wonder how this may impact the team in the long run.

This brings me to the topic for today: Should the Lakers look to trade D’Angelo Russell?

In all fairness to Russell, he is just 20 years old, which leaves him plenty of time to mature and grow as a person. The point guard certainly has a wealth of talent and has shown flashes of greatness on occasion this season, which bodes well for his future as a player, but it remains to be seen if his teammates will get over this act of betrayal. There may be serious personal consequences for Young, whose relationship could end over Russell’s clandestine video being made public. Regardless of what you think of Young’s actions in a moral sense, it wasn’t Russell’s place to reveal them to the world. The Lakers are a rebuilding team and many of their current players likely won’t be returning next season, so the current locker room dynamic may be altered as a result. But the question still remains as to how any new teammates will react to Russell and if it will hurt the franchise’s free agent recruiting efforts.

Now it’s time to turn the discussion over to you. Do you think that Los Angeles should part ways with Russell as a result of his actions? Or do you believe he is too valuable a player to trade? Will this scandal blow over, or do you think the Lakers’ locker room is irreparably broken? Take to the comments section to share your thoughts and opinions on the matter. We look forward to what you have to say.

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11 thoughts on “Hoops Rumors Community Shootaround 3/30/16

  1. Would the Lakers take their unprotected 2017 1st round pick back from the Sixers for Russ?

  2. Xyrak

    I like what Chuck said in the chat today – you’d be moving a 2nd overall pick at just about the lowest value possible to appease (mostly) a group of veterans that won’t be around when you are ready to compete. Doesn’t make sense to me.

    • Swag P is a HOFer though.

    • Arthur Hill

      This prank thing may have been Russell’s fault, but he’s got too much value to deal him away just to diffuse the situation The Lakers are better off getting rid of the veterans who are offended.

      • Italian Stallion

        Amen to that !

  3. aarongill

    NO! It’s stupid to trade him at his lowest value when teams like the sixers will low ball and no we don’t want okafor for a million reasons. Half of the team is gone next season hopefully young Atleast.

  4. Starship Pegasus

    Unless they get a star in return, there’s no reason to trade him. The rocker room is beyond repair at this point. However most of the team will not be returning anyway so it dosent really matter. I think Russell has gotten the message loud and clear. He won’t pull another stunt like that again

  5. Melvin McMurf

    he has no trade value at this point

  6. Italian Stallion

    This whole thing is stupid ! He’s just a kid ! He learned his lesson ! Kobe did something similar when he was young too and look how that turned out! Laker lifer! The team and everyone else needs to let this go.

  7. smittybanton

    “But the question still remains as to how any new teammates will react to Russell and if it will hurt the franchise’s free agent recruiting efforts.”

    Lol. Folks are ignoring this, the most important factor! Makes it worse that he’s supposed to be the point guard of the future, i.e., the leader. They have to drum up as much interest as possible between now and the end of June, then move him on draft night.

  8. There’s a simple solution to this; let Russell and Young work out their problems privately. Make Clarkson the main guy at PG too. Leave Russell on the bench as a 6th man or somethin.

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