T-Wolves' Gersson Rosas: Karl-Anthony Towns 'Shocked' by D'Angelo Russell Trade

Blake SchusterContributor IIIFebruary 12, 2020

MINNEAPOLIS, MN -  FEBRUARY 8: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 and D'Angelo Russell #0 of the Minnesota Timberwolves stands for the National Anthem during the game against the LA Clippers on February 8, 2020 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Karl-Anthony Towns wasn't in danger of being traded at last week's deadline, so it makes sense he'd use the morning to sleep in. It wasn't like the Minnesota Timberwolves star had a game that night, anyway.

He woke up to a phone call from Minnesota president Gersson Rosas. A trade had been made, and Towns needed to know his close friend D'Angelo Russell was now a member of the Timberwolves.  

"He was shocked," Rosas later recounted to New York Times reporter Mark Stein in his newsletter. "I actually woke him up. He was like, 'You're not messing with me, are you?' I told him, 'No—but don't say anything. Keep it to yourself.'"

By the time Russell landed in Minneapolis, Towns was at the airport waiting with his friend's new jersey in hand.

Towns and Russell had long dreamed of playing on the same team in the NBA. Now the two had accomplished their mission. The final cost: Andrew Wiggins, a protected first-round pick and a future second-round pick. 

For Towns and Russell, it was the end result they always knew was coming. 

"We talked about it. We joked about it," Russell told the Star Tribune's Chris Hine about teaming up with Towns. "We laughed about it in the summer time. Any time we were going to dinners, we were kicking jokes about it. For it to come true like this, it's a dream come true."

Even days later, Towns is still trying to process his new reality.

"It's surreal to really think that instead of us just talking on the phone or playing video games with each other and talking about how our teams are doing and everything, but now we're getting to do this every day with each other," Towns said to Hine. "He's never just been a friend of mine. He's been a brother of mine. Our families are so intertwined and connected. It's going to be real fun to be able to be out there with someone I call not only my brother but is more like blood to me."

If their first two games together are any indication, the fun arrived in Minnesota swiftly. 

The Timberwolves snapped a 13-game losing streak shortly after the trade, then they nearly took down the reigning champion Toronto Raptors the following game with Towns and Russell combining for 45 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.