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:
Byron Scott on D'Angelo Russell: "I haven't talked to him, won't talk to him. That's an internal matter that our guys will deal with."— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) March 30, 2016
Byron Scott: "The only thing that I'm disappointed about is that it got out. We're a family and we try to keep everything in house."— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) March 30, 2016
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.