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Karl-Anthony Towns: Timberwolves getting D’Angelo Russell ‘big incentive for me to want to stay’

Karl-Anthony Towns and D'Angelo Russell

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 2: D’Angelo Russell #0 of the Golden State Warriors and Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves greet each other after a game on January 2, 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 Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns, who’s now in his 71st straight day without winning a game, had sounded both adrift and frustrated during the skid. Rumors swirled about his displeasure in Minnesota.

Then, the Timberwolves traded for his friend, D’Angelo Russell.

Towns, via Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic:

“I think with D-Lo here, it’s always going to be a big incentive for me to want to stay,” Towns said. “D-Lo is a big part of everything the vision is. D-Lo always knows he’s going to be wanted because his brother is here with him and he always knows he’s going to have his back covered because I’m always going to be there for him.”

Towns is in the first season of a five-year contract extension.

Sometimes, I wonder if he realizes how he comes across. But the rest of us also ought to realize how this unusually works.

Elite players rarely stay long with a losing team to begin their career, especially in a small market like Minnesota. The list of exceptions: Kevin Garnett. Next-closest was Anthony Davis, and then he left New Orleans in a blaze of glory.

Russell probably does make it less likely Towns will try to force his way out. Saying it might be uncouth, but it’s true.

That said, there are real questions about whether adding Russell will be good for the Timberwolves in regard to Towns. Towns is so good, and his future is so bright. But his defensive intensity is lacking, and he resisted a winning teammate in Jimmy Butler.

Will playing with Russell invigorate and bring out the best in Towns? Or will it make Towns feel even more entitled?