The Los Angeles Lakers were mired in a strange controversy last season when D’Angelo Russell filmed teammate Nick Young admitting to cheating on his then-fiancée. The situation was unfortunate for all involved: Young and Iggy Azalea eventually broke up, Russell became the butt of jokes all across social media, and the Lakers suffered because of it.
Earlier reports suggested that Young was not responding to Russell’s efforts to apologize about the incident. With the veteran seemingly unable to forgive the rookie, Young’s future with the Lakers was put into question.
However, the wing may finally be willing to put differences aside. Young spoke to Mark Medina of the LA Daily News and expressed his desire to put the situation behind them:
“We’re teammates,” Young told the Southern California News Group. “It’s been so long, so it’s kind of old.
“We’ll be able to work it out. We’ve already been working it out. It is what it is. I can’t be mad forever.”
Young also spoke about new Lakers’ coach Luke Walton and his future with the team. Young’s message: his future is still very much in the air, but he is optimistic:
“It’s a breath of fresh air for me,” Young said of Walton, who spent the past two seasons as a Golden State Warriors assistant. “Luke is a big-time coach and came from a championship team. I think I have the tools that we can use as a shooter.”
Young added he sensed “good vibes” after talking with Walton a “couple of times” about his possible role. But does that mean the Lakers might plan on keeping Young?
“I left the conversations feeling good. But at the end of the day, I don’t know,” Young said. “We’ll see. I hear so much. You don’t know what to believe.”
This entire offseason, Lakers fans and analysts alike have considered Young as good as gone. That the team has not yet waived the veteran could be a sign that he may be staying in LA longer than expected, although the team could just be looking for trade opportunities.
If Young and Russell have truly put the situation behind them, then Young’s inclusion in the 2016-17 roster is not nearly as bad as it could be. He may not provide much value but he would not be as big of a detriment, either.
On the other hand, Young’s interview could simply be fake forgiveness in order to secure his future with the team. There’s no way for us to know how genuine it is. In essence, it’s a matter of how cynical or optimistic you are.
The deadline to stretch Young’s contract over the next five seasons is the end of this month. He could, of course, be bought out of it at any time. Either way, we should know fairly soon if Young will be a part of this Lakers’ team in the near future.