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Several Microwaved D’Angelo Russell Takes
On balance, I have to say I’m surprised how anti-Russell the reaction has been. The overwhelming response has been about how Russell broke an unwritten locker room code and how unacceptable that was to his teammates. Well… Nick Young is the one who cheated on his fiancé. Can we at least agree on that part? While it’s an understandable no-no to tattle on a teammate from a basketball perspective, this actually serves as a valuable opportunity to shame the entire basketball community for their allergy to monogamy. If you want to sleep around, hey, that’s your business, but don’t do it at the expense of a committed significant other, and don’t be outraged when someone reports on your nefarious activities.
There’s no way this was an accident. Forget about the video getting released for a moment. Why was it being filmed to begin with? As a human being, who turns on a video camera, goes up to a coworker and asks “hey, why don’t you tell me who you’ve slept with?” There had to be some actual intent here. People don’t record things without a reason. The optimist would say Russell wanted to make a point about cheating in the NBA and hoped the video would make it harder for other players to do so. The realist would say that Russell doesn’t like Nick Young and wants him off of the team so he decided to start a controversy. The conspiracy theorist (me!) would say that Russell is in love with Azalea and needed her to break up with Young before he made his move.
Shame on the younger Lakers for continuing to alienate Russell for his part in this incident. This is ostensibly someone you’re going to be playing with for the next decade, someone you’re going to war with. And you can’t sit with the guy at lunch? How is he supposed to feel about you guys going forward? Why should he believe that you have his back when he gets fouled hard when this is your reaction to him doing something that might have actually been morally right?
And a second round of shame to Kobe Bryant. You supposedly care about the future of this organization and its legacy. Well then, do something public to take attention off of its future franchise player. Quash this thing now. If Kobe told the rest of the team to forgive Russell and stop this nonsense they would.
Russell has to be traded this summer. That’s the only end to this. His teammates can’t trust him. Free agents won’t want to play with him. This is an immature kid who did something selfish and stupid who needs to go to a team with some veterans who can both teach him what it means to be an NBA player and vouch for him to the rest of the league so he can earn something of a reputation back. How are the rest of the Lakers supposed to feel comfortable telling Russell anything now? And if you can’t develop a relationship with your teammates, how far can you really go? It’s sad to think that a controversy like this can cost a team such a promising young player, but there’s just no way to fix this within the organization.