For the Lakers who have taken to shunning rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell , as ESPN reported , there is one inescapable fact: with almost no exceptions, Russell will be a Laker for much longer than anyone else on the roster. Everyone likes a principled stand, but everyone likes No. 2 draft picks more.

However you judge the actions of Russell, who surreptitiously recorded teammate Nick Young discussing dalliances with other women in a hotel-room gab session, the result is going to be the same. The video leaked, and as a result, teammates have taken to giving Russell a collective cold shoulder. Maybe Russell broke some unspoken guy rule, maybe he is a no-conscience fink, maybe he is a young guy playing a prank that got out of hand.

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"Nothing to talk about," Russell said (via Inside SoCal

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) as he left the Lakers' practice facility without doing interviews. (UPDATE: He and Young addressed the media before Wednesday night's game.)

And there may not be. He’s the franchise cornerstone, and the franchise is going to stick with him. There has been much hand-wringing over what Russell’s boneheadedness might do to the Lakers locker room, but the Lakers don’t have much locker room camaraderie as it is. They’re 15-59, and they have (at most) only six players, other than Russell, under contract next season. Does anyone think Russell’s stunt will have any impact on the fabric of this team, which has pretty much been unraveled from the outset of the season?

Certainly, the rookie needs to learn from his mistake. A repeat offense would be bad. But this scans as the error in judgment that one unnamed team source described to ESPN as a "prank gone wrong."

Young has been terrible this year, shooting 33.9 percent from the field and averaging a career-low 7.3 points. There was a chance, even without the Russell incident, he was going to be waived this summer, the Lakers eating the remaining $11 million on his ill-advised contract. He has the biggest beef against Russell, of course, but there could very well only be nine games left in the Russell-Young tandem, anyway.

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Forward Brandon Bass has a player option worth $3.1 million, and could very well opt out and become a free agent this summer. That would leave Lou Williams as the only veteran on the roster.

The other Lakers — second-year players Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson (who likely will re-sign) and fellow rookies Larry Nance Jr. and Anthony Brown — have a distinct interest in letting the Young-Russell kerfuffle pass. For one thing, if the Lakers are to pull themselves out of the last five years’ doldrums, guys like Russell, Randle and Clarkson figure to be a part of it. Also, it’s never wise for teammates to hold grudges against their point guards. He’s the one deciding who gets the ball, after all.  

“The only thing I’m disappointed about is it got out,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said (via Inside SoCal), despite his frequent criticisms of Russell. “We’re a family and we try to keep everything in house. That’s the only thing I’m disappointed.”

Russell might have seen his reputation take a hit in the past week with the news of the leaking of his Young video. But unless he is a serial videographer, this is not something that will stick with him. The bulk of the current Lakers roster will be gone by Summer League, and it’s probable the team will have a new coach then. On a different team, one that was just building up into a winner and featured a slew of long-term pieces, this might be an issue going forward. Not with this team, though.

 

 

Like Forrest Gump on the first day of school, D'Angelo Russell #1 is having a hard time fitting in with his teammates these days. MORE: LA Lakers guard Nick Young's infidelity is exposed. http://bit.ly/1M1kLH9

Posted by Sporting News on Wednesday, March 30, 2016

 

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It’s not going to be a deterrent for potential free-agents looking to sign with the Lakers, either. One prominent agent was asked about players now being scared off from playing with Russell. He laughed. “No,” he said. “The Lakers have money and they’re in LA. That’s what players are interested in most.”

His fellow Lakers, then, can continue to shun Russell as much as they like. It’s not hard to imagine how bad the guy feels about the entire situation, and maybe his teammates are justified in spending the season’s final three weeks hammering home his regrets.

But it just doesn’t matter. Russell is not going anywhere. His teammates might not like him, but he is going to get a whole new crop by next year, anyway.