The 2015-16 NBA season mercifully came to an end for the Los Angeles Lakers last month with Kobe Bryant putting on a show one last time for the fans at the Staples Center. With Bryant now retired, the attention turns to the future of the franchise with D’Angelo Russell expected to be the torch bearer for the time being in Los Angeles.
Despite showing flashes of his star potential during his rookie campaign with the Lakers, Russell’s first season in Los Angeles ended on a somewhat sour note due to the incident with teammate Nick Young. The Ohio State product will have an uphill battle ahead to bounce back from the scandal that tarnished his reputation and impacted his relationship with his teammates, but the 20-year-old seems confident he and do just that.
Recently, TMZ Sports caught up with Russell and asked him about his relationship with Young and if it can ever be repaired. D’Angelo gave a similar answer to the same question he’s been asked many times before:
“I don’t know. Only time can tell, right?”
At this point, there’s no telling whether the relationship will be repaired or even if it’ll matter considering the consensus being that Young has likely played his last game in a Lakers uniform. The real issue is the current relationships he has with his other teammates and players that may come to Los Angeles in NBA free agency this summer.
Along with asking Russell about his status with Young, TMZ Sports also enquired about the hiring of new head coach Luke Walton. Russell didn’t hesitate in expressing his happiness about Byron Scott’s successor:
“Oh yeah, I’m happy.”
Scott and Russell never really saw eye-to-eye in their short time together in Los Angeles. D’Angelo seemed never to know where he stood with Scott and his old school mentality, and therefore the relationship between the two always appeared to be strained. The young point guard now seems to be at ease knowing that he may have a more relatable coach next season that could give him more freedom to show his true potential in the years to come.
Although Walton was the popular choice among fans and pundits for the coaching vacancy, it remains to be seen if he can help right the ship with Russell and a young core of players leading the way in Los Angeles. The Lakers brass intends to do everything within their power to upgrade the roster during the offseason and hopefully bring in another superstar to replace Bryant in free agency or through a blockbuster, but there’s no guarantee this franchise can be repaired quickly as it heads into an uncertain future.