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Rift Develops Between D’Angelo Russell, Teammates

11:58am: Russell didn’t mean for the video to become public, according to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link) and Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding (video link). Russell posted the video to Snapchat and quickly deleted it, thinking no one would ever see it, according to Ding, but sources tell Kennedy that Russell’s Snapchat account was hacked.

8:44am: Lakers players are furious with D’Angelo Russell over what one team insider described as a prank gone wrong, report Baxter Holmes and Marc Stein of ESPN.com. 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 Holmes and Stein. It’s a disconcerting situation that builds on existing trust issues within the locker room, a team source told Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com for the story.

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 levied the same criticisms even before the video. Team officials see the video controversy as an example of the 20-year-old rookie’s immaturity, writes Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times, though a source told Bresnahan that Lakers players have been pulling pranks on each other throughout the season. Russell shot the video a couple of months ago, Bresnahan hears, but it didn’t surface publicly until the gossip website Fameolous.com posted it a few days ago.

Young and Russell were friends, with the swingman at times publicly sticking up for last year’s No. 2 overall pick, but sources who spoke with Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News 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.

Young hasn’t played in the last 10 Lakers games, though the two most recent absences were because he was suffering from gastroenteritis. The first eight were coach’s decisions, with the ninth-year veteran suffering through a career-worst season. He’s under contract through 2017/18, though he can opt out in the summer of 2017. Russell is in the first season of a four-year rookie scale deal.

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8 thoughts on “Rift Develops Between D’Angelo Russell, Teammates

  1. ErnestoFigueroa87

    I’m a Nets fan but KOBE NEEDS TO FIX THIS!
    I’d have everyone sit in a room,and give a speech about letting the past be the past.The immaturity issues,the bad blood and the losing.Families have issues but are there for each other in tough times.Focus all of that negativity they have for one another towards other teams.
    Kobe needs to fix this!

    • Kobe is out in 8 games. I am sure he is glad with this team. He doesn’t need to fix anything.

  2. I mean if this gets Nick Young and Lou Williams off the team, I guess it’s a blessing in disguise.

  3. aarongill

    Ugh. Swaggy media caused drama with one guard last week, now the other this week. We know what Russell did was wrong but we can’t give young a pass either because he’s doing the wrong thing too. Lakers need to fire Scott, get a coach who keeps control of the locker room, and gets seem betrays to keep things intact. Russell needs to apologize to young and to his team face to face with all 14 of them.

  4. smittybanton

    What free agent is signing with the Lakers if D’Angelo Russell is their point guard of the future?

    Maybe the Lakers won’t care about free agents if they get Ben Simmons, who played at Montverde Academy, like Russell.

    But if they lose their pick this year to the Sixers and can’t sign any free agents, they are screwed for next year.

    • Arthur Hill

      Exactly. When embarrassing pranks are being made public and players are shunning each other in the locker room, there are red flags to stay away.

  5. mariners24life

    Listen the team is bad. The lakers are moving guys such as swaggy p. Russel and randle are the young studs so let them handle their business it’ll help them in the future

  6. Not sure why D’Angelo Russell is at fault here. You can no longer call yourself Swaggy P if… 1 – You got caught, not a true player. 2 – Russell announces to you that its on video, and you do not make him delete it? But hey, the Sixers would probably give you back your 1st round pick that’s unprotected in 2017 for Russell. That way you can tank again and get another top 3 pick.

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