Lakers determine “different interpretations” amid harassment allegations on Jordan Clarkson, Nick Young

The Lakers found "different interpretations" on harassment allegations on Jordan Clarkson and Nick Young. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)

The Lakers found “different interpretations” on harassment allegations on Jordan Clarkson and Nick Young. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)

After talking with all parties involved, the Lakers have concluded there are “different interpretations of what happened” surrounding harassment allegations that activist Alexis Jones made on both Jordan Clarkson and Nick Young.

“We support Nick and Jordan and believe what they told us about the incident and their actions,” Lakers spokesman John Black said in a statement. “We also are supportive of Alexis and her feelings about what happened, about women’s rights, and of the fine work Alexis is doing with her organization.”

Jones, an activist devoted toward women’s equality with the ProtectHer program, uploaded photos of Young and Clarkson in a car on her Instagram account. Jones then accused them of sexually harassing her and her 68-year-old mother on Sunday night in Hollywood. Black said he has “several conversations” with Jones and her publicist since then about arranging a meeting with both Clarkson and Young.

“Unfortunately, Alexis’s schedule didn’t allow for this to happen [Monday],” Black said in a statement. “We will also continue to stay in touch with her about the possibility of addressing our team about the important issues with which she’s involved.”

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Lakers’ Kobe Bryant plans to play vs. Memphis; Larry Nance Jr. to sit out

Kobe Bryant plans to play in Tuesday's game vs. Memphis  (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

Kobe Bryant plans to play in Tuesday’s game vs. Memphis
(Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

No longer did Lakers coach Byron Scott feel the need to offer odds on whether Kobe Bryant will play when the Lakers (14-55) host the Memphis Grizzlies (40-30) on Tuesday at Staples Center.

“He says he’s playing tonight,” Scott said.

Bryant missed six of the past 10 games because of a sore right shoulder. After sitting out games last week against Sacramento (Tuesday) and Phoenix (Friday), Bryant has had about eight days to rest and recover. So much that Bryant plans to fly with the Lakers to play in Wednesday’s game against Phoenix in what will mark his final trip there.

“As of now,” Scott said, “that’s a good possibility.”

Scott also said he “absolutely” believes Bryant will play in the Lakers’ season finale against the Utah Jazz at Staples Center on April 13.

“Very optimistic about it but I’m still nervous about it as well,” Scott said. “I do feel that we’re doing all the right things and he’s doing all the right things as far as making sure that he’s as healthy as he can be to play and not put himself at a big-time risk.”

Meanwhile, Scott will be more cautious with rookie forward Larry Nance Jr, who will miss Tuesday’s game against Memphis as part of the teams’ effort to preserve his sore right knee on back-to-backs. But Nance will be available for Wednesday’s game in Phoenix.

“I just put two numbers in a hat, I pull it,” Scott said, laughing, about how he determines which back-to-back games Nance will miss. “I pulled the number out today and it was one. That meant the first game.”

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Lakers’ Byron Scott addressed harassment allegations with Jordan Clarkson, Nick Young

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott said he has addressed harassment allegations with Jordan Clarkson and Nick Young.  (Photo by Stephen Carr / Daily Breeze)

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott said he has addressed harassment allegations with Jordan Clarkson and Nick Young.
(Photo by Stephen Carr / Daily Breeze)

In what he called a “good, candid conversation,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said he addressed allegations that Jordan Clarkson and Nick Young harassed two women.

“Our organization is looking into it very seriously. It’s a very serious matter,” Scott said following morning shootaround on Tuesday at the Lakers’ facility in El Segundo. “From this point on, the team will take care of it and will figure it out and look into it and see what happens.”

Clarkson and Young did not speak to reporters at shootaround. But they are expected to be available after the Lakers (14-15) host the Memphis Grizzlies (40-30) on Tuesday at Staples Center. At the end of morning shootaround, Young talked with Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak.

Alexis Jones, an activist devoted toward women’s equality, uploaded photos of Young and Clarkson in a car on her Instagram account. Jones then accused them of sexually harassing her and her 68-year-old mother. Lakers spokesman John Black had talked with Jones about the situation on Monday morning.

“Aye if you want some attention take a pic of me and say anything next to it and post. The world we live in,” Young said in a tweet that has since been deleted.

Various accounts close to Clarkson and Young dispute Jones’ version of events, though it’s unclear what the next course of action might be. Young has considered filing a lawsuit, according to a person familiar with his thinking.

Scott described the demeanor from Clarkson and Young as “good” when he addressed the situation with them. But Scott declined to say whether either two were apologetic.

“We live in a society today with camera phones and all this other stuff you have at your disposal,” Scott said. “Guys are at risk so you have to be careful.”

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Lakers’ Robert Sacre endlessly calls Gonzaga “America’s Team”

Lakers center Robert Sacre has become a passionate supporter of his alma mater, Gonzaga. Photo by Steve McCrank/Daily Breeze

Lakers center Robert Sacre has become a passionate supporter of his alma mater, Gonzaga.
Photo by Steve McCrank/Daily Breeze

As he walks off the practice floor, Lakers center Robert Sacre often loudly brags about his squad. He often does the same thing anytime he enters the Lakers’ locker room.

“We’re American’s team!!” Sacre said.

No, Sacre isn’t describing the Lakers. He’s not even talking about the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys that earned that nickname. Sacre is describing his alma mater, Gonzaga, a No. 11 seed that will face tenth-seeded Syracuse in a Midwest region semifinal on Friday.

“Those guys are hard-nosed, tough guys and all want to work hard and all want to win,” Sacre said. “That’s the best thing about Gonzaga. Everybody wants to win.”

Sacre then added, “We have America behind us, so we’re good.”

Not exactly.

Teammates and reporters often laugh and roll their eyes at Sacre’s bravado. Lakers coach Byron Scott has even become somewhat annoyed with it. After all, Gonzaga has never even reached the Final Four.

“I hope they lose the next round. I’m tired of listening to him,” Scott said. “Hopefully they’re not around much longer. If they go to the final eight or in the Final Four, we’re not going to hear the end of it.”
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Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell advised Ben Simmons to keep “two feet in” during year at LSU

LSU freshman forward Ben Simmons is expected to be the top choice in June's NBA draft. (Julie Bennett/AL.com via AP)

LSU freshman forward Ben Simmons is expected to be the top choice in June’s NBA draft. (Julie Bennett/AL.com via AP)

Well before LSU phenom Ben Simmons declared himself eligible for the NBA Draft on Sunday night, it seemed like a foregone conclusion the script would write itself out this way.

“Before he left high school,” said Lakers rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell, “he was going into the league.”

Russell wasn’t just speculating. The two played at Montverde Academy, a prep school down in Central Florida, before Russell starred last year at Ohio State. So even if Russell only knew his intentions to declare for the NBA draft two months left into his lone season with the Buckeyes, the Lakers’ guard still gave him some practical advice toward how he handled his own college career.

“I just told him to keep two feet in and get to the [NCAA] tournament,” Russell said. “If you make a better run in the tournament, you’ll leave a better legacy at the college level than whatever trouble he got into or whatever his talk about why he was there. It was all about the legacy.”
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Byron Scott concerned about Kobe Bryant’s health post-retirement

Lakers coach Byron Scott unsure if Kobe Bryant would play pick-up basketball after retirement. (photo by John McCoy/Los Angeles News Group)

Lakers coach Byron Scott unsure if Kobe Bryant would play pick-up basketball after retirement. (photo by John McCoy/Los Angeles News Group)

The concerns about Kobe Bryant’s durability sounded ridiculous to the Lakers’ 37-year-old star. Then again, when has Bryant not found those questions dumb?

Bryant scoffed about any possible decline during his early 30’s as he won back-to-back NBA titles. Bryant laughed at it again when he received innovative treatments to push back Father Time. Bryant dismissed the uncertainties when he rehabbed from three season-ending injuries to his left Achilles tendon (April 2013), left knee (Dec. 2013) and right shoulder (Dec. 2015).

So it seemed hardly surprising that Bryant sneered again about his health during his 20th and final NBA season.

“What’s long-term?” Bryant asked rhetorically in early December. Bryant then joked with a reporter, “Equinox pick-up games, dude. I’ll post your (butt) up there. It doesn’t matter.”

Apparently it matters to Lakers coach Byron Scott.

He called it “50-50” that Bryant will play when the Lakers (14-55) host the Memphis Grizzlies (41-30) on Tuesday at Staples Center after missing six of the past 10 games with right shoulder soreness. But the variables on how much Bryant plays in the Lakers’ last 13 games goes beyond whether he feels just physically fine to compete that night.

“You have to look out for yourself, too. You want to make sure that you don’t do some serious serious damage to it and 10 years from now, you regret it,” Scott said. “I would love for him to play all the games just like you guys would and the fans. But I don’t think that’s possible.”

No doubt, Scott has mostly deferred to Bryant on his playing status. In the past month, Bryant has made it a bigger priority to play in final road games and at home games against either a marquee opponent or player. But Scott remained mostly concerned about Bryant’s status for the Lakers’ season finale on April 13 against the Utah Jazz at Staples Center.

Said Scott: “I want you to play in that last game and be able to walk off the court.”

Bryant has stressed the same things, but what about his dismissiveness toward being healthy enough to play at Equinox during his retirement?

“He should be because I played in some Equinox pickup games and those games aren’t friendly,” Scott said, laughing. “Obviously he wasn’t real concerned about it [earlier]. I think he was all about he present. But as we got further and further along into the season, I think he also was thinking about the future.”
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Lakers’ Nick Young disputes he and Jordan Clarkson harassed two women

Lakers forward Nick Young denies allegations that he and Jordan Clarkson harassed two women. AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Lakers forward Nick Young denies allegations that he and Jordan Clarkson harassed two women. AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Lakers forward Nick Young disputed an allegation that he and Clarkson harassed two women on Sunday night.

Alexis Jones, an activist devoted toward women’s equality, uploaded photos of Young and Clarkson in a car on her Instagram account. Jones then accused them of sexually harassing her and her 68-year-old mother.

“Aye if you want some attention take a pic of me and say anything next to it and post. The world we live in,” Young said in a tweet that has since been deleted.

Young also is considering filing a lawsuit against Jones, according to a source familiar with his thinking.

Lakers spokesman John Black said he spoke with Jones earlier on Monday. Black added the organization is taking the accusation “very seriously” and looking into the situation.


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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com.

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NBA, AEG to make “major announcement,” likely on Staples Center hosting All-Star game for 2018

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will be at the Lakers' game on Tuesday against Memphis at Staples Center to make what the NBA called a "major announcement." AP Photo/Kathy Willens

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will be at the Lakers’ game on Tuesday against Memphis at Staples Center to make what the NBA called a “major announcement.” AP Photo/Kathy Willens

The NBA appears likely to attract buzz in the next few years at Staples Center. The variables could go beyond how well the Lakers rebuild or if the Clippers make a deep playoff push.

The NBA and AEG plan to make what they call “major announcement” at Staples Center on Tuesday prior to when the Lakers (14-55) host the Memphis Grizzlies (40-30).

What the “major announcement” will entail could not be immediately confirmed. But it appears likely the news will entail Staples Center planning to host the NBA All-Star game in 2018. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, AEG President and CEO Dan Beckerman, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment Commission President Kathy Schloessman will attend a pre-game press conference.

This would mark the third time Staples Center has hosted the NBA All-Star game since opening in 1999, including in 2004 and 2011.

Former Lakers center Shaquille O’Neal collected his second of third All-Star MVP trophies in 2004, while Lakers guard Kobe Bryant secured his fourth and final All-Star MVP honor in 2011. NBA All-Star weekend in 2011 also featured the Lakers unveiling Jerry West’s statue outside Staples Center as well as Clippers forward Blake Griffin winning the Dunk Contest.

The NBA also hosted All-Star games in Los Angeles both at the L.A. Sports Arena (1963) and at the Forum (1972, 1983).

USA Today’s Sam Amick first reported last month the initial discussions the NBA had about Staples Center hosting the All-Star game in 2018.

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell says it’s “great to hear” he’ll close out games regardless of play

Lakers guard D'Angelo Russell was happy to hear he will close out games for the rest of the season.  (Photo by Stephen Carr / Daily Breeze)

Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell was happy to hear he will close out games for the rest of the season. (Photo by Stephen Carr / Daily Breeze)

The towel draped around D’Angelo Russell’s head as he sat on the bench and watched his teammates close out games. The images hardly looked as fun as one of Russell’s dazzling passes or shots.

But with the Lakers’ starting lineup laboring through slow starts, coach Byron Scott leaned on his reserves and their superior collective play. So, Russell stressed he “wasn’t aggravated,” mindful that those reserves helped the Lakers climb out of double-digit deficits. But Russell sounded pleased with the news that Scott will feature him late in games, including when the Lakers (14-55) host the Memphis Grizzlies (40-30) on Tuesday at Staples Center.

“That’s great,” Russell said after practice on Monday at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo. “It’s a great thing to hear.”
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Lakers’ Byron Scott calls it “50-50” for Kobe Bryant to play vs. Memphis

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is considered "50-50" to play on Tuesday vs. the Memphis Grizzlies  (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is considered “50-50” to play on Tuesday vs. the Memphis Grizzlies
(Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

It has become the most pressing question among reporters. Same with Lakers fans who want to buy tickets.

Will Kobe Bryant play?

“I don’t mind it,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “I just don’t have answers. I wish I did. Sometimes I don’t know until up to game time.”

That includes when the Lakers (14-55) host the Memphis Grizzlies (40-30) on Tuesday at Staples Center. Scott considered the chances of Bryant’s return at “50-50” after he missed six of the previous 10 games because of his sore right shoulder. Scott said he has not determined if he would start Larry Nance Jr. at the small forward spot if Bryant cannot play. But consider Scott’s odds as meaning very little.

Scott said he had not talked with Bryant on Monday. Scott also reported a “75-25” chance Bryant would play last Friday against Phoenix that morning, only for Bryant to tell him otherwise in the afternoon.

“You got good math. It’s a lot worse than 75-25,” Scott said to a reporter, laughing. “Obviously the 50-50, you don’t feel good about that when you feel good about 75-25.”
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