Nick Young has accepted D’Angelo Russell‘s apology over the controversial video that had seem to drive a wedge between Russell and his teammates, a source told Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). Lakers players reportedly shunned Russell following the public release of a video he secretly recorded that depicted Young talking about women other than his fiancee. Russell apologized to the team before Wednesday’s win over Miami, Jordan Clarkson said, according to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News (on Twitter), and the rookie expressed profound contrition in an interview with The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
“The thing is, we record ourselves doing dumb stuff all the time,” Russell said. “On the road or home, wherever. We go back and watch what we did and said and laugh at ourselves. I guess I just never thought that these pranks we pull on ourselves could have bigger consequences. That was a big lesson I learned. I’ve said to myself over and over: What could anyone possibly gain by intentionally doing something that could hurt someone else’s relationship? I never wanted to hurt anyone. I’m sorry for it.”
The flap that temporarily cast the future of last year’s No. 2 overall pick in doubt seemed to dissipate amid the team’s victory and the appearance of Lamar Odom, who attended his first NBA game after a health scare that threatened his life in October. Kobe Bryant said after the game that Odom’s recovery stands as an example for Russell of how a dire situation can improve over time, notes Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). See more on the Lakers:
- A prominent agent who spoke with Sean Deveney of The Sporting News laughed off the notion that players around the league would be reluctant to play with the Lakers if Russell is still on the team, and Deveney suggests the long-term implications of the video incident are overblown. Given Young’s poor production this season, his status on the team is more tenuous than Russell’s, Deveney insists.
- The agent pointed to the Lakers’ money and geographic location as reasons why they’re a draw for players, but the results of this past offseason, when LaMarcus Aldridge and others spurned the team, say otherwise, contends Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post, who believes the team’s issues go far beyond the video.
- Larry Nance Jr. had never played small forward before this season, but the Lakers have him at the three now and will keep him at the position for summer-league play with an eye toward using him as a long-term complement to power forward Julius Randle, as Medina details.