Video adds to Lakers turmoil
El Segundo, Calif. — Lakers coach Byron Scott is disappointed that an unflattering video of Nick Young apparently taken by rookie teammate D’Angelo Russell became public.
Scott declined to address any details about another embarrassment for the Western Conference’s worst team after their shoot-around for Wednesday’s game against Miami. Russell and Young plan to address the media before the game, team spokesman John Black said.
Russell apparently recorded a video in which he asked Young about being with women other than his fiancee, rapper Iggy Azalea.
The video began circulating online in the past week, although the circumstances are still unclear.
ESPN.com reported Tuesday that the breach of locker room protocol has driven a wedge between several Lakers and Russell, the No. 2 overall pick in last year’s draft. Scott declined to talk about the mood in the locker room heading into the final two weeks of what is likely to be the worst season in the 16-time NBA champion franchise’s history.
“The only thing that I’m disappointed about is that it got out,” Scott said. “We’re a family, and we try to keep everything in-house.”
Scott said he hadn’t spoken to Russell about his actions, and he didn’t plan to do so. Scott has publicly questioned Russell’s maturity several times this season. Russell is averaging 13.1 points, 3.4 assists and 3.4 rebounds this season, occasionally showing dynamic offensive skills.
“That’s an internal matter that our guys will deal with,” Scott said.
The 20-year-old Russell declined to speak to reporters at the shoot-around at the Lakers’ training complex, saying there was “nothing to talk about.” Russell stayed on the court for several minutes after his teammates, working with assistant coach Thomas Scott and player development coach J.J. Outlaw.
Azalea’s wedding to Young had been postponed even before the video drama. The Australian musician posted an interesting response on her Twitter account: “hmmm i see D Angelo Russell is trending … I actually liked his film. Thanks bro.”
Young hasn’t played for the Lakers in 10 straight games, sitting out while healthy before missing the last two games with what the Lakers said was a gastrointestinal problem. Young largely has played poorly this season but is under contract for next season with a player option for 2017-18.
The video flap is just the latest tawdry mistake by a roster that sits 29th in the overall NBA standings, leading only Philadelphia.
Earlier this month, Young and starting guard Jordan Clarkson were embarrassed when a woman claimed they had made inappropriate, harassing gestures at her while their cars were stopped at a traffic light in Hollywood, leading the players to claim the incident was “a miscommunication.”
Kobe Bryant’s farewell season also has been a disaster on the court for the Lakers, who are 15-59 heading into their meeting with Miami. They’re wrapping up the worst three-season stretch in club history after last season’s Lakers went 21-61, setting the franchise record for losses and worst winning percentage.
The Lakers will miss the playoffs in three straight seasons for the first time in team history. The only upside to the ineptitude is the increasing probability that the club will keep its first-round draft pick, which must be given to the 76ers if it doesn’t land in the top three after the NBA draft lottery, thanks to the conditions of the long-ago trade for Steve Nash.