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#pounditSaturday, April 17, 2021

D’Angelo Russell has strained relationship with fired coach Ryan Saunders?

D'Angelo Russell

Ryan Saunders became the first NBA head coach to be fired this season, and some friction with one of his star players may have been partly to blame.

Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic reported this week that the fit between the ex-Minnesota Timberwolves coach and guard D’Angelo Russell appeared to strain as the season went along. Krawczynski adds that Russell would jaw at Saunders during some games.

The NBA-worst Wolves fired Saunders, who had gone 43-94 (.314) in three seasons with the team, over the weekend. Toronto Raptors assistant Chris Finch is set to become their new coach. He will try to better navigate a roster that has been ravaged by both injuries and COVID cases this season.

Russell himself is sidelined with a knee injury and has appeared in just 20 games so far this year. If his relationship with Saunders was indeed strained, it would not be the first time that Russell clashed with a head coach.

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