The Brooklyn Nets welcomed D’Angelo Russell back to the Barclays Center on Friday night. Back in 2019, he helped the Nets clinch their first playoff berth in four seasons but was swiftly traded to Golden State at the end of the same year so the team could sign Kevin Durant.
Right about now, it’d be nice to have Russell back in a Nets jersey. With the chances of Kyrie Irving playing this season dwindling, along with James Harden’s struggles, Russell’s play would be greatly beneficial for the Nets.
However, times have changed, and he’s with Minnesota now. Brooklyn was tasked with finding a way to stop Russell and the Timberwolves, but before the Nets did so, Russell responded to some questions about making his return to the Barclays Center in front of Brooklyn fans and in the process took a funny shot at general manager Sean Marks during shootaround.
In all honesty, it was a witty comeback to a question that Russell should’ve been expecting given the circumstances.
Timberwolves guard D’Angelo Russell called out Brooklyn Nets GM Sean Marks.
Brooklyn’s a completely different team than it was when Russell was running the point. With Joe Harris missing Friday’s game against Minnesota with an ankle injury, there was no other member of the Nets that Russell played alongside during his two years with the team. What was once “Russell’s team” is now Durant’s team.
That leaves Marks, who orchestrated the three-team trade. If there was any one person that Russell holds animosity against, it’d be the general manager. He sent Russell packing to the West Coast shortly after he had his NBA best season at that point in his career.
With Karl Anthony-Towns out of the lineup for the Timberwolves, Russell was given the space to make a statement of his own in his return. Although he shot 27.3% from the floor, he led Minnesota with 21 points and 11 assists.
He was no match for Durant, though, who led Brooklyn to a 110-105 victory with 30 points and a clutch fourth-quarter performance. Sure, it’d be nice to have Russell back with the Nets, but if losing him meant gaining Durant, that’s something that Brooklyn fans can live with. Russell can probably understand that to an extent, but he clearly values himself as a player, which you have to respect.
As for Marks, maybe whenever Russell’s in town, he should stay in the shadows. Just as Brooklyn fans will never forget about the impact that Russell had on the team during the 2018-19 season, Russell hasn’t forgotten who pulled the trigger on shipping him out of town.