MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Lakers granted reserve Wayne Ellington an indefinite leave of absence after his father was shot and killed Sunday night in Philadelphia. It is not currently clear when Ellington will rejoin the Lakers.
“My family and I are devastated by the news of my father’s murder on Sunday night in Philadelphia,” Ellington said in a statement released by the Lakers. “We appreciate everyone’s support and ask that you respect the privacy of our family during this very difficult time.”
Lakers coach Byron Scott said the team, including Ellington, were informed of the news on Sunday night shortly after the team’s win against Charlotte at Staples Center. Ellington’s father was found shot to death inside his car at an intersection, according to a report in the Philadelphia Daily News. Police on Tuesday told the newspaper they have no motive or suspects.
“All of us have to give him space right now to grieve and deal with this with his family,” Scott said before the Lakers (1-5) played Memphis (6-1) here at FedEx Forum. “We’ll welcome him back with open arms when he decides to come back.”
Ellington made the Lakers’ roster on a non-guaranteed contract, averaging 7.8 points on 57.1 percent shooting in 20.6 minutes as both a backup shooting and point guard. Ellington grew up outside Philadelphia before starring at North Carolna and having numerous stops in his five-year NBA career, including Minnesota (2009-12), Cleveland (2012-13), Memphis (2012-13), Dallas (2013-14) and the Lakers (2014-15). Ellington has a non-guaranteed deal in the offseason, though $581,692 of his contract locks in if he stays on the roster past Dec. 1.
“This is our livelihood but this is still just a game. What happened to Wayne is real life,” said Scott, who also coached Ellington in Cleveland. “It puts everything int perspective. As a team we’ll keep trying to go on and win games. But every now and then before the game, during the game after the game we’ll have Wayne on our mind.”
“Our players are upset for their friend and teammate,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. “Additionally, ownership and all Lakers employees are also saddened by this tragedy. Those of us who work with and have gotten to know Wayne have come to know what a wonderful and caring person he is. Our hearts go out to Wayne and his family, as do our thoughts and prayers.”
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