D'Angelo Russell Declines to Speak on Nick Young; Byron Scott Addresses Incident

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistMarch 30, 2016

March 27, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard D'Angelo Russell (1) moves the ball up court against Washington Wizards during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The disintegration of the Los Angeles Lakers has hit a new low, as rookie point guard D'Angelo Russell is apparently being ostracized in the locker room by his teammates.  

According to ESPN.com's Baxter Holmes and Marc Stein, Russell is catching heat for recording a conversation with Nick Young, who didn't seem aware of the recording, in which Russell asked questions about Young's romantic relationships with other women who are not his fiancee, rapper Iggy Azalea. 

On Wednesday, at the Lakers' shootaround, per Holmes, Russell simply said there was "nothing [to] talk about" before walking into the locker room without elaborating on any of the controversy around him. 

Lakers head coach Byron Scott seems to be taking a passive approach to the situation, per Holmes:

Holmes noted that Lakers spokesman John Black said Russell and Young will talk to reporters before Wednesday's game against the Miami Heat

Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News reported that Russell left the practice facility with security guards.

Scott's comments point to a bigger gulf in the Lakers' locker room than what exists between Russell and his teammates. There's no logical reason for a head coach not to speak with his team about the situation, at least in an effort to try to get them to act like professionals on the court. 

Yet, Scott has not been shy this year about criticizing Russell in public, recently telling Medina he thought Russell would be "a little bit further" in his development. Scott did go on to say he reminds himself Russell is still young, but he doesn't keep a lot of his criticism behind closed doors. 

Anything that happens behind the scenes can stay there, but for this to have become such a public matter as the Lakers are nearing the end of a disastrous season, in which they own the Western Conference's worst record, is a problem Scott should try to address. 

Russell shouldn't have been recording anything, certainly not without Young knowing about it, but the problems in Los Angeles extend far beyond things being said in a video.