The Wolves reportedly had interest in Strus, Saddiq Bey and Jae Crowder.
“Among the player the Wolves pursued were Denver’s Bones Hyland, Phoenix’s Jae Crowder, Detroit’s Saddiq Bey and Miami’s Max Strus, per sources,” wrote The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski. “It’s clear that after losing a high volume 3-point shooter in [D’Angelo] Russell, they were looking at options to fill the shooting void.”
Of those three players, Strus is the only one who was not traded at Thursday’s deadline. Miami elected to stand pat and not make a trade on Thursday, although it did move Dewayne Dedmon to the San Antonio Spurs earlier in the week.
The former first-round pick ended up in Atlanta while James Wiseman went to the Pistons. The Warriors acquired Gary Payton II while the Blazers received five second-round picks.
Crowder was also in a big deadline deal, as the Phoenix Suns sent him to Brooklyn as part of the trade that brought Kevin Durant to Phoenix. Crowder has not played yet this season as he was sitting out from the Suns lineup waiting for a trade to materialize.
Brooklyn rerouted Crowder to the Milwaukee Bucks for several second-round picks on Thursday.
The Timberwolves are trying to make a playoff push in the Western Conference after earning the No. 7 seed last season. Minnesota did add guard Mike Conley in a three-team deal with the Los Angeles Lakers and Utah Jazz, but it appears it wanted to add some wing depth as well.
Strus would have been a nice fit for the Wolves, as he’s a solid off-ball shooter. The Heat wing is averaging 12.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game this season. The 26-year-old has seen his shooting efficiency drop a bit from last season, but he’s still shooting 40.5 percent from the field and 34.4 percent from beyond the arc.
It’s clear that the Heat value Strus as a rotation piece, and they may decide to bring him back in free agency this coming offseason since they didn’t move him at the deadline.
The DePaul University product is in the final season of his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent in the summer. After playing himself into a major role in Miami the past few seasons, Strus should see a significant pay increase in free agency.