D’Angelo Russell calls ESPN reporter ‘clown’ in defending Karl-Anthony Towns

Brian Witt | NBC SPORTS

Nick Friedell currently covers the Warriors for ESPN, but previously, the Minnesota Timberwolves were his assignment. As such, he has a strong opinion about the recently completed trade between the two organizations that had Andrew Wiggins and D’Angelo Russell trading uniforms.

“No,” Friedell answered when asked if Minnesota’s new pairing of Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns would turn the franchise around on Tuesday’s episode of “The Jump.” “I am all the way out on the Timberwolves. I don’t believe that Karl-Anthony Towns is mature enough as a leader to be the face of a team that can contend and grow. I think that D’Angelo Russell was really solid in my dealings with him in Golden State, but there’s a reason why the Warriors traded him. They did not believe that he was a core piece of a possible title contender.”

After suggesting that Russell’s day-to-day attitude, not just his position, encouraged Golden State to get rid of him, Friedell returned to his criticism of Towns.

“The culture that has been created in Minnesota, especially in the last year or so with [coach] Ryan Saunders and [general manager] Gersson Rosas … everybody is afraid of upsetting Karl-Anthony Towns. Karl-Anthony Towns was anointed as ‘the guy’, he got a max deal … what has he won in the league? Everything has kind of flattened since they said, ‘You’re the man.'”

When David Fizdale suggested that it’s commonplace for NBA teams to cater to their star players, Friedell wasn’t buying that excuse.

“A lot of stars in the league have won,” he countered. “Towns has never won anything. He has always been the guy that everyone has said, ‘Oh, he can do it.’ But I think around the league, guys, the word is starting to come out that Towns has a ton of talent, and they’re going to rack up a ton of points, but is somebody going to make him play defense all the time? Is somebody going to bring out the mental toughness that you need night after night to be the person that leads the way?”

Earlier in the show, Fizdale posited that, since they’re best friends, Russell might be the one to constantly be in Towns’ ear. Well, when Russell heard Friedell’s comments, he came to his and his best friend’s defense.

In their first game as teammates in Minnesota, Russell and Towns combined for 45 of the Timberwolves’ 126 points, but they were also a combined minus-29 in an 11-point loss. Russell can call Friedell a clown all he wants, but that doesn’t prove the reporter wrong. In fact, it has the opposite effect.

📺WATCH: Karl-Anthony Towns, Joel Embiid ejected, Ben Simmons made KAT tap out in wild NBA fight

Nick Schwartz | USA TODAY SPORTS

Sixers star Joel Embiid and Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns came to blows Wednesday night in Philadelphia after becoming tangled up, and the melee left Embiid bloodied. Embiid and Towns had been going at each other throughout the game, and tensions flared in the third quarter after Ben Simmons forced a Towns turnover. As the Sixers raced to the other end of the floor to score a transition bucket, Towns and Embiid began shoving each other, leading to an all-out brawl.

Ben Simmons was nearest to the chaos and tried to pull Towns off Embiid, and eventually wound up laying on top of Towns on the ground with his arm around Towns’ neck.

Embiid and Towns were both ejected from the game, but no other players were penalized by officials.  Embiid and Towns can both expect severe fines from the NBA, and it’s possible the league could fine other players for their involvement.

Karl-Anthony Towns’ mom was not pleased with Embiid.

NBA fans were stunned.

Ben Simmons made Karl-Anthony Towns tap out in wild NBA fight

Nick Schwartz | USA TODAY SPORTS

On the night of Game 7 of the 2019 World Series, Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns stole the spotlight and caused a minor NBA Twitter meltdown after fighting in the third quarter in Philadelphia. Towns and Embiid had been physical with each other all night, and tensions boiled over when the two players got tangled up. Both Embiid and Towns were ejected from the game.

Ben Simmons was the first Sixers player to try and break up the fight, and he would up on the floor with his arm around Towns – who actually tapped out to Simmons’ apparent rear naked choke.

NBA fans had a field day.