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Lakers News: D’Angelo Russell excused for Tuesday’s game against Pelicans

Don’t criticize him for this choice. It’s his to make.

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Los Angeles Lakers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As the Los Angeles Lakers’ season crawls to a merciful end, the focus will obviously be on lottery positioning. For D’Angelo Russell, however, following the loss of his grandmother, the top priority will be on spending as much time as he needs with his family.

Spectrum SportsNet’s Mike Bresnahan had the report.

This is the right thing to do, and it’s his choice to make.

All too often, we dehumanize athletes. For a 21 year-old young man, a grandmother’s passing can resonate as deeply as the loss of a parent. It’s his prerogative to mourn her death or celebrate her life however he and his family see fit. Losing sight of that makes us pretty cruel.

It’s also important to point out that this has nothing to do with tanking. Yes, the Lakers’ chances of catching the Suns in a tie for the second-worst record in the league go up substantially when he doesn’t play, but this decision has nothing to do with that.

If this does effectively end Russell’s season, it will be interesting to see how people look back on it. He finishes the year averaging just over 15 points per game, to go with just under five assists and three boards shooting just over 40% from the field. Not bad at all.

All the best to Russell and his family as he deal with this loss.