One Western Conference executive doesn’t believe that the Wolves will keep Russell beyond this season, per Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus.
“I don’t think the Wolves reinvest in Russell,” a Western Conference executive said. “The combination of players they have just isn’t clicking.”
The Heat could make a deal for Russell work as long as they can match salaries in the deal. Russell is making just north of $31 million this season.
“If Minnesota goes in a different direction by the deadline, it would need to fill Russell’s 32.5 minutes a game,” Pincus wrote. “It’s unclear where he might land, though teams mentioned as possibilities by various NBA sources included the Heat, [Phoenix] Suns, [Dallas] Mavericks and [Los Angeles] Clippers.”
So far in the 2022-23 campaign, Russell is averaging 17.6 points, 2.9 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game while shooting 46.5 percent from the field and 38.3 percent from beyond the arc.
Those are solid numbers, but the Wolves have not had the success they were hoping for this season after trading for All-Star center Rudy Gobert. Part of that is due to a calf injury to Karl-Anthony Towns, but the Wolves currently sit in the No. 9 spot in the Western Conference.
Miami could potentially look into a swap where it trades veteran guard Kyle Lowry for Russell, as that would open up some salary cap space for the team this coming offseason.
Russell is in the final season of his contract while Lowry has one more year remaining on his deal. It’s unclear how much the Wolves would ask in return for Russell, especially since he’d be a rental.
Since the team has playoff hopes, a player like Lowry could make sense since he could contribute right away and has plenty of playoff experience.
The Heat have started to make a run up the Eastern Conference standings after a slow start to the 2022-23 season. Miami dealt with a lot of injuries early in the 2022-23 campaign, but it currently sits in the No. 6 spot in the East.
Adding a playmaker like Russell at the guard position could boost the team’s offense in the second half of the season. Russell has bounced around a bit in his NBA career, playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets, Golden State Warriors and Timberwolves.
The former No. 2 overall pick has made one All-Star team in his eight-year career.