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Russell says Nets, Atkinson, have greeted him with “open arms”

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Brooklyn Nets v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

In an interview with Sean Deveney of The Sporting News, D’Angelo Russell has broad praise for how the Nets have treated him since the Draft Night trade that brought him to Brooklyn ... and sees no problems playing with Jeremy Lin.

Asked about any unease he may have felt leaving the Lakers —with all the attendant controversy over Magic Johnson’s remarks— Russell took the the opportunity to say how happy he is with the Nets.

“It’s past,” Russell told Deveney. “I learned a lot and now I am moving on to a new opportunity. The situation is, you’re with one team and you go to another team and it is completely different. Brooklyn has been open arms from Day One for me, so I am looking forward to it.”

Russell made the comments during the Gatorade Athlete of the Year Awards in Los Angeles, the same place where Matt Peralta of Lakers Index got his quotes on Russell and Lin.

The 21-year-old was particularly positive about Kenny Atkinson both with Deveney and Peralta.

“I have talked to him a lot,” Russell told Deveney. “We talked last week. He is an amazing guy because he is a hard worker, he has a chip on his shoulder and something to prove. He was an assistant a long time and he had to pay his dues. He has a lot of credibility. He speaks, I listen.

“I feel like all those things kind of complement myself and where I am now, that’s the way I try to go about my business.”

“He’s a great dude,” Russell told Peralta. I’m really looking forward to working with him. I know he’s a hungry coach. He has something to prove and I have something to prove, so I think we’re going to work well together.”

As for whether he and Lin could play together, Russell echoed comments from both Atkinson and Lin. It’s not about 1 through 5. It’s about basketball.

“I think it's a go,” Russell told Deveney. “We just go. Whoever gets the ball, let’s run. I complement his game, he complements my game. He’s not a point guard, he’s not a shooting guard. I’m not a point guard, I’m not a shooting guard. I think we’re just basketball players trying to make the best of it.”

And what about the rebuild? Russell said he didn’t bother him. In the last two years, the Lakers have won 43 games, two more than the Nets have over the same span. It’s a process.

As Deveney wrote, “he knows well the ins and outs of playing for a rebuilding team. It doesn’t scare him.”