D'Angelo Russell Talks Wolves-Warriors Trade, KAT and More in B/R Exclusive

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 27, 2020

Photo: H&M

"Dope."

D'Angelo Russell told Bleacher Report that is the word that immediately came to mind when he learned he would have the chance to play with friend Karl-Anthony Towns on the Minnesota Timberwolves

Minnesota acquired Russell from the Golden State Warriors via trade on Feb. 6 for a package that included Andrew Wiggins and multiple draft picks. While the guard's time with the Warriors was short-lived, it is not difficult to envision he and Towns thriving together as an ideal pair with the Timberwolves in the coming seasons.

The careers of the two 24-year-olds have largely mirrored each other to this point.

Towns was the No. 1 pick of the 2015 NBA draft, and Russell was the No. 2 pick. They have both been to the All-Star Game on an individual level but are still searching for sustained team success with one first-round exit on each of their playoff resumes. 

Russell called "playing with my brother" at this point "a great step ... knowing that he's in a similar position to me in his career. He wants to win; he wants to be better every day. I knew it was something that I could take advantage of."

Photo: H&M

Unfortunately for Minnesota, the tandem has played just one game together because Towns is sidelined with a wrist injury. The big man said he "desperately" wants to play again this season, per Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, and Russell echoed the desire to team up before the 2019-20 campaign ends.

"The sooner the better for us, I think, that we can just get on the court and try to connect," he said. "Little things like that will help develop our chemistry."

While the Ohio State product is still looking to further develop his on-court chemistry with Towns, one thing that doesn't need much work is his sense of style off the floor.

Russell teamed up with H&M to pick out his favorite items for a collection and even modeled for a spring campaign. He said he was "honored" to work with a company that has been on his radar since well before he was draining three-pointers at the NBA level.

Photo: H&M

"It's something I've been a part of for a while, since I was younger," he said. "Getting an opportunity to get something that was in my price range and that I was aware of, the first thing I knew was H&M."

Fashion is not an unfamiliar topic for Russell. After all, he won GQ's annual NBA Style Showdown last year in a competition featuring the likes of Russell Westbrook, James Harden, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade and has done a national campaign with Bloomingdale's.

H&M earned his stamp of approval.

"I appreciate the variety," he said. "You can go down whatever lane you want to go down, and they have it."

Photo: H&M

One thing missing from Russell's wardrobe at this point is a championship ring, but he experienced what it was like being part of a championship locker room when he was a member of the Warriors. Golden State has struggled with injuries and setbacks this season, but it also reached the last five NBA Finals and won three of them.

He didn't miss out on the opportunity to learn from players like Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, as well as an experienced coaching staff with championship pedigree.

"A lot of great basketball minds," he said of the culture in Golden State. "I got to pick their brains as much as I could. I took advantage of that opportunity [to be] better as a player, on and off the floor."

Photo: H&M

Russell acknowledged "they've been to the highest level," which is where he is looking to go with the Timberwolves.

The next step is taking what he learned in Golden State and using it to develop chemistry with Towns and challenge the other dominant duos in the Western Conference for playoff positioning next season. That could mean facing the likes of James and Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, Westbrook and Harden, and, yes, even Curry and Thompson.

Russell and Towns leading the Timberwolves to their first playoff series win since the 2003-04 season against one of those tandems would qualify as "dope" as well.

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