D'Angelo Russell, Nick Young, Byron Scott and Kobe Bryant Discuss Video Incident

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistMarch 31, 2016

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 19:  D'Angelo Russell #1 of the Los Angeles Lakers and Nick Young #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers talk during the game against the San Antonio Spurs on February 19, 2016 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Los Angeles Lakers teammates D'Angelo Russell and Nick Young addressed the media Wednesday evening after a Tuesday report from ESPN.com's Baxter Holmes and Marc Stein put the two Purple and Gold players at the center of a videotaping controversy. 

Holmes and Stein reported "trust in Russell is eroding after a video surfaced in the past week that shows Russell recording a private conversation" in which the rookie asked Young if he had been with women other than his fiancee, rapper Iggy Azalea. 

"I am sick," Russell told The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski. "I am sorry about recording the video. I can’t repeat myself enough on that: I am sorry I recorded that video. I feel horrible. I wish this never happened."

In an open conversation with the media prior to Wednesday’s game against the Miami Heat, Russell said he believes his actions could have major repercussions in Young’s personal life, according to the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson:

Young made a brief statement Wednesday, telling reporters, "I think it’s best me and D’Angelo handle our situation in a private manner. It’s something we need to talk about."

He added, per the Los Angeles Times' Mike Bresnahan: "What happened is what happened. We've got to work on it."

Wojnarowski reported that while Russell apologized to Young, it's unclear whether Young accepted the olive branch. 

"It’s tough," Kobe Bryant said, according to team reporter Mike Trudell. "There’s a lot to learn. I’m sure he’ll evolve and grow and be better from it. ... The guys are understanding. We are all human beings. Everybody makes mistakes. Important thing is to show compassion."

Russell, who also told Wojnarowski he doesn't know how the video was made public, explained he and Young have often videotaped each other throughout the season:

The thing is, we record ourselves doing dumb stuff all the time. On the road or home, wherever. We go back and watch what we did and said and laugh at ourselves. I guess I just never thought that these pranks we pull on ourselves could have bigger consequences. That was a big lesson I learned.

Citing team sources, Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding reported Russell recorded the video on Snapchat "about three months ago," believing "he could privately post video of Young without his knowledge, talking about women, and take it down without those few people he shared it with recording it—or anyone ever publicizing it."

The big question now is whether Russell can patch up his relationships with his other teammates as the season comes to a close. Holmes and Stein cited a source who said Russell's teammates are handling the situation "by isolating him," meaning the tension could wind up complicating the Lakers' future. 

"Listen, man, I know that it will take some time to regain trust and confidence,” Russell told Wojnarowski. "I hope they know I would never intentionally hurt someone—and know how horrible I feel."

"I can’t really show my face anywhere right now without people hating me," Russell said following the Lakers' 102-100 overtime win against the Heat, per Bresnahan. "I’ll try to end it the right way."

Russell has been pegged as a key piece of the Lakers' long-term plans since the team selected him with the second pick in the 2015 draft, and his play throughout February and early March indicated he had broken through the rookie wall.

However, those flashes of brilliance are secondary to concerns regarding his maturity. Head coach Byron Scott has questioned Russell's maturity on several occasions this season, with Scott going so far as saying, "You're 19, but sometimes I think you're 14," according to Bresnahan

Furthermore, Scott told reporters Wednesday that Russell's transgressions could set him back, according to Lakers Nation's Serena Winters: 

But Scott noted this is something Russell and the Lakers should survive. "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger," he said, according to ESPN's Rachel Nichols. "We'll see what kind of character we have when it's all said and done."

Lakers Nation's Ryan Ward provided another soundbite from Scott regarding Russell's growth following Wednesday night's game: 

"Adversity is always tough...especially with young guys," Bryant added, according to Trudell. "But it all comes back to the game."

The serious nature of the incident means the Lakers are bound to face pressing personnel questions involving Russell and Young. That said, it would be a shock to see the team jettison the talented 20-year-old considering he's on a cost-controlled rookie deal that runs through 2020, per Spotrac

"The club is not about to give up on him over this: a foolish, ill-conceived undertaking that was at least not malicious in intent," Ding wrote. "The Lakers believe in Russell's talent and hope he learns a lesson the hard way about needing to be more professional."

So if the Lakers are pressed to make a decision this summer, Young—who hasn't appeared in a game since March 8could be the odd man out based on recent trends. Speaking Wednesday, Scott told reporters he doesn't expect Young to see the floor much over the season's final weeks, per Bresnahan: 

Swaggy P has two guaranteed years remaining on his deal, but the second is a player option worth just under $5.7 million, according to Spotrac

"If the Lakers can unload Young this offseason to help put this incident with Russell behind them, though, it's the most likely result, as hurtful as that would be to Young," Ding added. 

The situation is far from resolved, but Russell's remorse represents a small step forward for the rookie as he seeks to build bridges with members of the organization.

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