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As extension talks falter, trade rumors swirl around D’Angelo Russell; Heat among interested

Minnesota Timberwolves v Houston Rockets

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 8: D’Angelo Russell #0 of the Minnesota Timberwolves dribbles the ball against the Houston Rockets on January 8, 2023 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photo by Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

D’Angelo Russell was the guy Karl-Anthony Towns wanted around him in Minnesota a couple of years ago, but things have not worked out as the player or management have hoped.

Russell is extension eligible but talks between him and the Timberwolves going back to last summer have gone nowhere, according to multiple reports (Russell is making $31.4 million this season and the market for him will be a considerable drop from that number). With those talks stalling, Russell’s name has come up in a lot of trade rumors, and Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer summed them up nicely.

The Heat have in fact registered interest in Russell, sources told Yahoo Sports, but a direct deal for [Kyle] Lowry would appear unlikely. Lowry is just a few months away from entering the final season of his own contract worth roughly $30 million in average annual salary, and it’s hard to imagine Wolves officials being eager to extend the aging guard another exorbitant payday when he becomes extension eligible this summer — putting Minnesota in the exact situation it faced with Russell last July.

In general, there is little market around the league for point guards making that range of salary. League executives are monitoring the Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns as teams in search of backcourt improvements before the deadline.

A Kyle Lowry and Russell trade would essentially be a “you take my problem, I’ll take yours” deal, and it makes a lot more sense for Miami because they could create more cap space quickly this offseason (plus Lowry has not been a great fit, Russell might be better).

The second paragraph is key — it’s unlikely Russell will get traded because his salary makes it a challenge. That leaves the Timberwolves in a tough spot financially, they don’t create much cap space letting him just walk at the end of the season, and finding another quality point guard would not e easy.

Russell, to his credit, sounded like a veteran trying to ignore the rumors.

“Yeah, it’s my life,” the seven-year veteran told Yahoo Sports. “That’s it. Just be conscious of it.”

His life will be filled with rumors over the next few weeks.