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Devin Booker’s new max extension inspired D’Angelo Russell’s summer training

Two buddies from the 2015 NBA Draft worked out together this summer, and Russell came away inspired by Booker’s progress.

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NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The relationship between Devin Booker and Nets guard D’Angelo Russell elevated to another level this summer, sparked by Booker’s shiny, new max contract extension.

Speaking to Michael Scotto of The Athletic, Russell said:

“I’m in the greatest place ever, honestly,” Russell told The Athletic. “Like you said, motivation. I see my best friend sign a max deal. I know where we came from, so that’s plenty motivation that I need. I wake up every morning and go to train, and I feel like I’m in the best shape. I don’t know. The sky is the limit.”

The two were drafted in the lottery the same year, and have developed a relationship over time. This summer, the pair worked out together in California for the majority of the offseason, and Scotto’s piece goes into greater detail about Russell’s physical development.

Scotto also spoke with Russell and Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson about his on-court progress ahead of a potential contract extension this fall. Here’s Atkinson on Russell’s maturity in two years with the Nets:

“I think we’ve been good for each other in terms of he’s got a great imagination, a really good IQ about the game. But all the little things you have to do in this league to be a consistent player in the NBA, I think he’s maturing and learning.”

And here’s Russell on his perspective heading into an interesting point in his career:

“That’s not something I can control, so I just want to play, to be honest,” Russell said of his extension deadline coming up. “That’s really been my main focus. Staying healthy and finishing the season on a positive note. As a team, there’s a lot that we can really work on. Those have really been outweighing my thoughts on an extension and all of that.”

While Russell has certainly not lived up to the lofty expectations of a No. 2 overall pick, he is seemingly in a good situation in Brooklyn and learned and grown through his relationship with Booker.

Both players are heading in the right direction, and it’s a relationship to watch going forward.

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