The widely expected move Friday allows the Nets to match any offer Russell receives from another team.
The Athletic first reported the qualifying offer. Without it, Russell would have become an unrestricted free agent Sunday.
Russell, 23, was an All-Star for the first time last season after leading the Nets to a 42-40 record and averaging 21.1 points per game. But his return is far from certain, with the Nets able to afford two top free agents and considered one of the favorites to land Kyrie Irving, who plays Russell's position.
ESPN's Tim Bontemps and The Associated Press contributed to this report.