D'Angelo Russell.

D'Angelo Russell has explained himself after tape controversy with teammate Nick Young

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Recently, the Los Angeles Lakers have equalled a franchise record for their worst ever loss and they sit rock-bottom in the Western Conference.

Remarkably, however, they managed to beat the Golden State Warriors a few weeks ago and defeated one of the form team's since the All-Star break in the Miami Heat.

Most of all, Kobe Bryant is entering the last handful of games in his storied and celebrated NBA career. Despite all of those intriguing and attention worthy narratives in California, nothing compares to the scrutiny D'Angelo Russell has endured in the last couple of days.

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ESPN's Baxter Holmes and Mark Stein reported that "trust in Russell is eroding after a video surfaced in the past week that shows Russell recording a private conversation" in which last summer's number two draft pick quizzed Young about other women he may have encountered other than his fiancee, rapper Iggy Azalea.

The backlash has been widespread and fierce, and Russell just wants everybody to understand it was an honest mistake with no malice.

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"I am sick," Russell told The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski. "I am sorry about recording the video. I can’t repeat myself enough on that: I am sorry I recorded that video. I feel horrible. I wish this never happened."

"The thing is, we record ourselves doing dumb stuff all the time. On the road or home, wherever. We go back and watch what we did and said and laugh at ourselves. I guess I just never thought that these pranks we pull on ourselves could have bigger consequences. That was a big lesson I learned."

"Listen, man, I know that it will take some time to regain trust and confidence,” Russell continued. "I hope they know I would never intentionally hurt someone — and know how horrible I feel."

Young refrained from publicly shaming his teammate and kept his comments very professional.

Miami Heat v Los Angeles Lakers

"I think it’s best me and D’Angelo handle our situation in a private manner," according to Mike Trudell of the team's official website. "It’s something we need to talk about."

"What happened is what happened," Young added, per the Los Angeles Times' Mike Bresnahan. "We've got to work on it."

Furthermore, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald tweeted out Russell's concern for Young and Azalea's relationship as a result of his mistake.

Bryant, the elder statesmen and often mentor to Russell in the Lakers ranks, has seen it all through his glorious career, including problematic teammates. The Black Mamba understands better than most Russell's predicament.

"It’s tough," Bryant said, according to Trudell. "There’s a lot to learn. I’m sure he’ll evolve and grow and be better from it. The guys are understanding. We are all human beings. Everybody makes mistakes. Important thing is to show compassion."

While Bryant's comments might be reassuring to Russell, his long-term Lakers future might come into question. Coach Byron Scott has labelled the youngster immature before, and this episode is sure to give those comments some credence.

Los Angeles Lakers v Los Angeles Clippers

"I can’t really show my face anywhere right now without people hating me," Russell said, per Bresnahan. "I’ll try to end it the right way."

That's the challenge for Russell now. He has undoubtedly shown in flashes that he has the talent this season, but question marks seem to remain on whether he can be the next franchise cornerstone that the Lakers brass obviously hoped for.

Can he regain the trust of his purple and gold brothers?

D'Angelo Russell
LA Lakers
Pacific Division
Western Conference
Kobe Bryant
Nick Young

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