by JOSHUA RAMIREZ/Sports Editor
In sports, the bond between teammates is often complicated.
But most players understand the unwritten rules that come from being brothers on the field, or on a court. But what happens when those rules are broken?
The Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA recently ran into this problem when D’angelo Russell, their 2015 second overall draft pick, leaked an incriminating video of teammate Nick Young claiming to have had an affair with a young girl. The video eventually led to Young’s fiancé, and mother of his child, Iggy Azalea, calling off their engagement.
While Russell claims not to have leaked the story, it’s still unknown who allowed the clip to fall into the hands of the media.
After the video was made public, it was reported that Russell’s teammates had begun to shun him and exclude him from team activities.
Unfortunately for Russell, the best course of action for his career at this point is to request a trade from the Lakers.
Russell is a talented young player and will likely have a bright future in the NBA, but it will not be with the Lakers.
The actions that led to the clip being released, whatever they may have been, fall on Russell alone. It is unlikely he will ever be able to repair his relationships in the Lakers locker room.
Luckily for Russell, there is another 2015 draft pick who is currently unhappy with his current situation.
On the other side of the country, Jahil Okafor, the Philadelphia 76ers third overall pick in the 2015 draft, expressed many times before, and since the draft, that he did not want to play in Philadelphia. He was even hoping to be drafted by the Lakers at the number two overall spot.
At this point, the best thing for both players would be to switch teams. Being the number two and three players drafted in 2015 should place their grades relatively close, which should make hammering out a deal easier for everybody.
With the firing of Lakers Head Coach Byron Scott, it is likely that the team will have to start rebuilding once again. With 2017 being the last year of a three-year window for Jim Buss to bring the Lakers back to relevancy, it is likely the team will be taking a new direction in 2018 under the guidance of Jim’s sister, Jeanie Buss.
As a result, trading for the best center and third best player from the 2015 NBA draft could give the Lakers not only a new direction to grow in but would give them a good player to build around going forward.
For the 76ers, it is unlikely they will be able to get Okafor to return after his contract expires, so the best thing for the 76ers would be to trade him now while they can still get something of value for him, rather than paying him to stick around for a few years just to leave the team when it’s all said and done.
While Russell may not share Okafor’s desire not to play for the ever-struggling 76ers, he is not currently in a position to be picky about where he ends up, as no matter where he goes it will be years before he can repair the damage that has been done to his reputation.