What D’Angelo Russell told SLAM magazine was no mistake. As Eminem once wondered on a track, “Damn, how much damage can you do with a pen?” A lot. And Russell knows that. So when he told Max Resetar of SLAM that he, Devin Booker and Karl-Anthony Towns would play together one day, he meant it.
In a cover story documenting the relationship between this trio of young NBA stars, their close relationship is laid bare. They’re connected by a love for Call of Duty, they work with the same publicist, and they all love basketball. And they’re pretty good at it.
So, again, let’s take it seriously when they put something on the record about their desire to play together. Here’s what Russell said:
“We gotta do this again, when we’re all on the same team,” Russell jokes toward the end of the day. “Nah, don’t cut it,” he says to our rolling cameras. “Y’all got it on footage. When we’re all on the same team—I ain’t gonna tell you which team because I don’t know—we’re gonna do this again.”
Don’t take my word for it. Russell was reportedly in the middle of a meeting with Minnesota President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas when the Nets traded him to the Warriors. Last year, Towns created an uproar when he posed for a picture in a Suns jersey. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said he could imagine a world in which the Timberwolves traded Towns. All three are in the first year of new contracts, but that doesn’t mean anything in today’s NBA, as Kristaps Porzingis, Kawhi Leonard and others have proven over the past 18 months.
Guys who genuinely care for one another and want to win will likely see their friends as some of the best paths toward winning. Booker hasn’t been able to keep track of the names of all his teammates with so much turnover in Phoenix. Russell was blacklisted by the Lakers after flaming out with coach Byron Scott and Magic Johnson early on. Towns had to deal with Jimmy Butler for over a full season.
Superstar players change their fortunes with the ring of a phone. These guys are on their way toward bona fide superstardom. Take it seriously. Not this season, maybe not in the near future, but it’s not hard to draw parallels to friendships between Leonard and Paul George or the Miami Heat Big Three. If these three get to the point where they truly want to make it happen and they see a way to do it, they will play together.