Citing security concerns, the Lakers changed plans and decided not to stay at a Donald Trump-branded hotel in New York City on Tuesday and Wednesday nights for their game Wednesday against the Brooklyn Nets, a team spokesperson said.
A source with knowledge of the team’s decision, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, emphasized that the decision to switch hotels was not politically motivated.
Since Trump was elected president, there have been demonstrations against the result nationwide. His hotels have been the target of protests, as has Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan.
The threat of protests caused concern that the players’ schedules might be disrupted by a stay at the Trump SoHo in Lower Manhattan.
The Lakers had originally planned to stay at the hotel, which bears the Republican president-elect’s name through a licensing agreement. While his company does manage other hotels, it does not manage the Trump SoHo.
Though the Lakers said their motivation isn’t political, other NBA teams and players have made politically motivated decisions not to stay at Trump properties.
Earlier this month, LeBron James and several of his teammates chose not to stay with the rest of the Cleveland Cavaliers at Trump SoHo when they were in town to play the Nets. James, who campaigned for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election, called his decision a “personal preference.”
The Dallas Mavericks chose not to stay in Trump hotels, according to an ESPN report. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, a Clinton supporter and Trump critic, said the decision was made months ago, not after the election.
The Milwaukee Bucks, whose co-owner Marc Lasry is a longtime supporter of Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, opted not to stay at Trump hotels due to their association with the president-elect, the report also said.
“I’m really proud we won’t be staying there because I couldn’t be comfortable being around him and his businesses,” Bucks forward Jabari Parker said, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I know he’s our president. But it’s just going to take some time. And he hasn’t publicly come out with an apology for anyone or for the things he said.”
For the first time this month, the Lakers removed shooting guard Nick Young from the injury report on Tuesday.
Young played 26 minutes Monday against the Sacramento Kings after playing 20 minutes the night before against the New York Knicks. Before that, Young missed six games with a right calf strain.
D’Angelo Russell (left knee soreness) is still on the injury report, listed as probable for the game against the Nets. Russell played just under 20 minutes Monday after playing 16 minutes Sunday.
Julius Randle is probable with a right hip injury. Randle has not missed any games because of this injury, though he did miss three games with an injury to his left hip in November.
The Lakers listed backup center Tarik Black (ankle sprain) and backup point guard Jose Calderon (right hamstring strain) as out for the game. Both are traveling with the Lakers, given the length of time the team will be on the road. Wednesday’s game is the second of seven on a trip that will last 13 days.
LAKERS AT BROOKLYN
When: 4:30 PST.
Where: Barclays Center.
On the air: TV: Spectrum SportsNet, Spectrum Deportes; Radio: 710, 1330.
Records: Lakers 10-17, Nets 6-17.
Record vs. Nets: 1-0.
Update: Although the Lakers beat the Nets on Nov. 15 at Staples Center, Coach Luke Walton wasn’t pleased with how they played in allowing 118 points in the game. The Nets have struggled this season, but nearly knocked off the Houston Rockets on Monday night. Former Laker Jeremy Lin’s return from injury helped energize the Nets. Lin came off the bench and had 10 points in 20 minutes with seven assists.