The video controversy involving D’Angelo Russell and Nick Young was an inevitable result of their flawed personalities, contends Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report. Ding says Russell’s immaturity and Young’s desire for a celebrity lifestyle combined to create the incident, which reportedly has led to deep rifts in the locker room. The columnist adds that many in the Lakers’ front office are angry at Russell for bringing this distraction to the team and are worried that it may turn off potential free agent targets. However, the Lakers recognize Russell’s unique talents and aren’t likely to deal him away over a misguided prank.
There’s more Lakers news from Los Angeles:
- The Russell-Young story is making waves throughout the league, writes David Mayo of MLive. Pistons power forward Marcus Morris said he probably won’t speak to Russell again, adding, “That’s something you don’t want to see in the NBA.” Detroit teammate Stanley Johnson, a longtime friend of Russell’s, says being a rookie doesn’t excuse what he did, and coach/executive Stan Van Gundy agreed with Lakers’ coach Byron Scott that the incident shouldn’t have become public knowledge. “This should be one of those situations where whatever is said in there stays in there,” Van Gundy said, referring to the locker room.
- Kobe Bryant received an offer last summer to play for Barcelona, according to the Spanish website mundodeportivo.com (hat tip to Kurt Helin of NBCSports.com). The offer called for Bryant to appear only in Euroleague games, which feature the most successful teams from each participating nation. Because Bryant is making $25MM this year in his final season with the Lakers, it’s likely that the Barcelona offer was for next season. Bryant reportedly turned it down, saying he wasn’t physically able to handle the competition.
- Scott hasn’t provided the smooth transition into the post-Kobe era that the franchise was counting on, but Jabari Davis of Basketball Insiders believes the team has a young core that will eventually turn the Lakers into winners again. Despite his off-court faux pas, Russell has shown himself to be an exceptional talent, and Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr. also provide hope for the future, either as part of the resurgence or as trade pieces to bring in veteran talent.