Russell contrite on mistake after leaked video causes rift in team

D'Angelo Russell (top) has apologised to Nick Young (above) regarding the video he secretly filmed in which Young was talking about women other than fiancee Iggy Azalea.
D'Angelo Russell (left) has apologised to Nick Young (right) regarding the video he secretly filmed in which Young was talking about women other than fiancee Iggy Azalea.

LOS ANGELES • Los Angeles Lakers rookie D'Angelo Russell apologised on Wednesday for secretly recording team-mate Nick Young talking about women other than Young's fiancee Iggy Azalea.

The video, which later appeared online, has reportedly caused a rift in the Lakers' locker room as the famed National Basketball Association (NBA) franchise stagger towards the end of a disappointing season notable mostly as the farewell tour of superstar Kobe Bryant.

"I feel as sick as possible," Russell, 20, told reporters before the Lakers' home game against the Miami Heat on Wednesday, which they won 102-100 in overtime thanks to Julius Randle's hook shot with 1.9sec left.

"I wish I could make things better right away, but I can't."

Russell said he did not know how the video became public.

"I reached out to (Young), let him know my apologies," Russell said.

"I don't know if they were accepted. I wouldn't blame him."

ESPN.com reported that Russell had been given the cold shoulder by several team-mates after the emergence of the video, in which Young - who is engaged to Australian rapper Azalea - talks about other women.

An ESPN report cited unidentified sources with the Lakers (16-59) as saying discord over the video was partly to blame for the team's 48-point drubbing by the Utah Jazz on Monday, the worst defeat in Lakers history.

"It's bad. It's about as bad as it can get. There were trust issues already. Now there's no trust," one team source was quoted as telling an ESPN.com journalist.

Team officials had reportedly chosen not to intervene in the situation. Young, 30, has not played in 10 games but spoke briefly about the matter prior to Wednesday's game.

"I don't want to get into my personal life right now," he said. "I think it's best that me and D'Angelo handle the situation we have in a private manner outside the media.

"I think it's something we really do need to sit down and talk about. That's about it. What happened is what happened. We've got to work on it."

Azalea commented on Twitter on the video.

"Hmmm I see D'Angelo Russell is trending... I actually liked his film. Thanks bro," she tweeted.

According to various media outlets, a man reported to be Russell asked Young in the dimly lit video: "You was 30 and she was 19?" in reference to a woman at a club.

He also asked if he ever tried to be with model Amber Rose, to which Young replied: "No, she knows my girl."

Russell, the Lakers' second overall draft pick, has come on late in the season and is averaging 13.2 points and 3.3 assists.

The franchise is hoping he can become their focus when Bryant retires at the end of this season but the latest incident has raised questions about his maturity.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 01, 2016, with the headline 'Russell contrite on mistake after leaked video causes rift in team'. Print Edition | Subscribe