As he narrows in on where he’ll play this season, and who wants him, Shabazz Muhammad may be going back to Cali.
When the Minnesota Timberwolves traded for Jimmy Butler on draft night and made a couple notable free agent signings, Shabazz Muhammad became an odd man out. The team rescinded its qualifying offer on him, thus making him an unrestricted free agent, but despite interest from up to six teams at one point the former first-round pick has not signed anywhere yet.
The Timberwolves have remained in the mix for Muhammad, and he has become a solid bench scorer for them over the last two seasons in particular. But Minnesota does not have much salary cap space to play with, and Muhammad may now have his eye on a move west.
According to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders and Bleacher Report, Muhammad is considering signing with the Los Angeles Lakers. Lakers’ general manager Rob Pelinka was Muhammad’s agent before stepping into a new role, and Muhammad of course spent his lone college season at nearby UCLA.
It’s unclear if the Lakers have any interest in Muhammad, as they are also considering other options to fill out their roster. The New Orleans Pelicans are rumored to be in the mix for him as well, but it seems sure to come down to the best, perhaps multi-year, offer for whoever signs Muhammad.
Muhammad stands out as one of the best players available on the NBA free agent market right now, though that’s pretty faint praise on Sept 1.
Versatility is the name of the game in the NBA right now, which has left one-trick ponies like Muhammad behind. But he does have value in the right role, as long as he’s not exposed as a lackluster, disinterested defender and a below-average three-point shooter with excessive minutes.