Per reports by the Pioneer Press and others, the Timberwolves have renounced the rights to Shabazz Muhammad, making him an unrestricted free agent.
This was done, in large part, to make way for Taj Gibson and other incoming free agents to help fill out the rest of the roster going forward. It’s extremely likely that, while Muhammad is a wing in his own right, that Thibs will be looking for more traditional 3 & D wings to round out next year’s roster.
Muhammad’s entrance into the NBA wasn’t an easy one. Coming into college at UCLA, he was considered a top 2 recruit in the country, and a consensus top 3 pick in the 2013 NBA draft. Inefficiency in college dropped him all the way to the bottom of the lottery, where he was picked by Flip Saunders (in a draft day trade that sent the rights to Trey Burke to Utah, rights to Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng to Minnesota).
In Muhammad’s rookie year, he didn’t see much playing time for then-coach Rick Adelman. He was a bit out of shape, and it seemed as though the only move in his arsenal was his right shoulder hook. An effective move, yes, but not enough to warrant substantial minutes right away.
After a pair of summers dedicated to mending his body and getting in shape, Shabazz found his playing time, and his bounce again.
He found a role under Flip Saunders, then Tom Thibodeau, as an offensive rebounding fiend with a nose for the basket. He loves scoring the basketball, whether it was from the corner 3, off the offensive board, or simply attacking the basket with a deep intensity on his face. He was a heat-seeking missile that wasn’t always on, but when he was, he was dangerous for Minnesota (I wrote about his early 2014 success for Sporting News, as I quickly got on the Shabandwagon).
Ultimately, Muhammad’s time in Minnesota seems to be over, and that’s likely a mutual decision. Muhammad will find a role elsewhere as a spark of feisty energy somewhere. He’s not a perfect basketball player, but his role in the NBA seems solidified for the foreseeable future.
Good luck, Shabazz Muhammad. Good luck on your next endeavor.