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D'Angelo Russell Discusses Relationship With Ex-Lakers Teammate-Turned-All-Star

By Noel Sanchez,

2023-03-14

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Respects Randle's game but verifies they do not have a friendship.

D'Angelo Russell has been virtually the lone member of the Los Angeles Lakers' original young core to find his way back that consisted of other names such as Brandon Ingram, Jordan Clarkson, and Julius Randle. The 27-year-old point guard is off to hot start with the LA, most recently dropping 33 points and 8 assists against the New York Knicks on Sunday.

New York did come out victorious in that game and were led by Randle, who also dropped 33 points and is coming off of his second All-Star appearance. Both southpaws were highly coveted prospects coming out of college and the Lakers used two lottery picks to add them to their rosters.

Russell and Randle played two seasons together for the purple and gold before the Brooklyn Nets traded Brook Lopez and a first round pick in exchange for the former Ohio State guard. Despite losing a good amount of games, they had good moments together in seasons highlighted by Kobe Bryant's retirement. However, Russell revealed in a postgame interview with Spectrum Sportsnet that he has not remained very close with his former teammate.

"I'm a fan of his game, no relationship," said Russell. "We played together, went our separate ways after that. It's just been competitive energy since then. I'm not really friends with anybody to be honest. On the court it's no love, just trying to battle and get the win. Maybe we'll shake hands after."

It's very important to read the entire quote here and see that Russell described his relationship with no disrespect. In a current era of basketball where many criticize the stars of our league as being too friendly, the newest Lakers point guard is coming forward with an old-time mentality.

Many fans have attributed the growing popularity of AAU basketball as why so many players are "buddy-buddy". However, in Russell's case, he has shown nothing but excitement to be back in LA and he parted ways with the Timberwolves that featured one of his best friends in Karl-Anthony Towns.

For a Lakers team that is finally building a winning culture again this season and finding new life, it's important that the rest of the squad follows Russell's mentality and looks to compete as they try to make the playoffs.

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