David Rosenthal, CBS Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Lakers guards D’Angelo Russell and Nick Young made headlines for all the wrong reasons this week.

Here’s some background on the saga.

A video surfaced of Russell filming a conversation where Young was allegedly discussing cheating on his fiance, Iggy Azalea, and that reportedly “isolated” Russell from the rest of his teammates.

Multiple sources reported that teammates had shut him out and were even refusing to pass him the ball on the court after the video surfaced.

Russell said he has no idea how the video came out but that is he truly sorry for all the attention it has drawn, as well as all the drama it has caused in Young’s life.

Before Wednesday’s game against the Miami Heat, both players addressed the media.

Young went first, and was brief, to say the least, simply saying:

“I don’t want to get into my personal life right now. … I think it’s best me and D’Angelo have to handle the situation we have in a private matter, outside the media.”

Young was extremely quiet and concise during his address. It is a personal issue and should be worked out between only the parties involved, but at least have the class to apologize to your fiance.

Even if she is one of the worst rappers of all time, no one deserves that.

Russell, the 20-year old second overall draft pick, handled the situation like a tenured NBA veteran.

Here are some excerpts from the young man’s comments:

I feel as sick as possible. I’ve been asked that question 110 times and my answer, my feelings, stay the same. I wish I could make things better right away, but I can’t.

I know if I’ve lost anybody’s trust I’m going to work my tail off to gain it back because that’s something you need for a winning team. You need everybody to trust each other. You need the first guy to trust the 15th guy and that’s been my intentions.

I’ve talked to a few players separately just to get their input on how to go about it. At this point, the damage has been done. The best thing you can do is own up to it. That’s what I did. I owned up to it in full effect and am just taking what comes with it.

Well done, D’Angelo, well done.

He never should have recorded his teammate without his knowledge, especially about a personal issue.

However, the way Russell handled the aftermath has been impressive and mature beyond his years.

He admitted his wrongdoing, apologized and said he needs to gain back the trust of his teammates and is willing to do whatever it takes to do so.

What The Lakers Should Do Now

To put it simply … CUT YOUNG! The man literally does absolutely nothing for the Lakers on the court.

His biggest contributions to the team are his postgame quotes that make no sense and his premature celebrations of shots that don’t even go in.

Lakers-Nick-Young-Turns-Around-Celebrates-Too-Early-Shot

He clearly has a negative impact around the young Lakers players and offers a perfect model of WHAT NOT TO BE in the NBA.

With Kobe Bryant retiring and no real leader emerging on the team, the Lakers would be wise to release Young this off-season.

Why? Well, let’s look at the core and future of this team:

D’Angelo Russell – 20 years old

Julius Randle – 21 years old

Jordan Clarkson – 23 years old

*Top 3 protected 2016 NBA Draft pick

That says it all.

Should Nick “Swaggy P” Young be leading these young men not only onto the court each night but also into the treacherous path of adulthood? I think not.

While his antics are certainly amusing to some, they have gotten old, and it’s time to move on.

If the team doesn’t move on, it will only continue to hinder the development of Russell, Randle, Clarkson and anyone else it decides to bring along.

It’s not like Young is some kind of beacon of light on the court for the Lakers either.

He has been in Coach Byron Scott’s doghouse the entire season, playing in just 54 games, averaging 19 minutes and 7.3 points per game.

He also collected his first assist to Bryant this year … IN THREE YEARS OF PLAYING TOGETHER.

Let’s look at what’s happened in just the past week:

The Russell video leak, Randle gets fined $15,000 for an “obscene dance” (after a game-winner, so we’ll let this one slide) and Clarkson goes on his first public date with none other than Kendall Jenner.

Clarkson now, too? The quiet, reserved second-round pick who could barely speak to the media last season is now dating a Kardashian (Jenners count).

Kendall is by far the most sane of the bunch, which says absolutely nothing, but come on, Jordan, avoid that circus and stick to basketball.

There are plenty of nice and beautiful girls who will not eat your soul while also slowly eroding your basketball career.

I would love to hear an argument defending Young and how his influence on and off the court is NOT affecting the Lakers youth. (Feel free to email/tweet me)

“Because he is fun to watch,” is not a good argument.

What Russell did was completely wrong and a violation of trust no matter if you are an athlete or not, but it all stems from the environment the leaders and veterans of the Lakers created for the young players in the first place.

It’s been an “interesting” past couple of years between Bryant’s final hurrah and the tanking, to say the least, but next year it is time to move on from this nonsense and start becoming the old Purple and Gold again.

David Rosenthal is a web producer for CBS Los Angeles.  If you have any questions or comments for him, he can be reached at drosenthal@cbs.com or on Twitter @TheReal_D_Rose.  He graduted from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. 

Comments (3)

Leave a Reply