Shabazz Muhammad

Shabazz Muhammad Expected To Play In China

Recently waived veteran swingman Shabazz Muhammad is expected to sign a deal with the Shanxi Brave Dragons of the Chinese Basketball Association, per Nikos Varlas of Eurohoops. We relayed yesterday that Muhammad would likely sign with a Chinese team barring another NBA opportunity.

Soon to be 26 years old, Muhammad was waived by the Bucks on Thursday as Milwaukee cut down its roster. He appeared in two preseason games, but his most significant action with the Bucks came in 11 games last season when he averaged 8.5 PPG.

Muhammad was originally selected 14th overall by the Jazz in 2013, but the Timberwolves acquired him on draft night. The forward spent four-and-a-half seasons in Minnesota, averaging 9.0 PPG and 2.8 RPG in 267 games.

The UCLA product has never averaged more than 10.5 PPG in a season where he played in more than 38 games.

Muhammad’s new deal cannot be finalized until he clears NBA waivers. That will happen later today, assuming he goes unclaimed.

And-Ones: New NBAGL Rules, Muhammad, Draft

The NBA G League often serves as a testing ground for new and experimental rules that the NBA may eventually consider implementing. For the 2018/19 season, the G League will introduce two more of those new rules, the league announced today in a press release.

One of those rules will require the shot clock to be set to 14 seconds – instead of 24 – when a team advances the ball to the frontcourt following a reset or team timeout. The second rule involves a “transition take foul,” when a defender fouls an offensive player during a transition opportunity without attempting to make a play on the ball, as seen here. In that scenario, the offensive team can select any player in the game to shoot one free throw and then gets the ball back.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Shabazz Muhammad, waived by the Bucks on Thursday, may end up heading to China for the 2018/19 season, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. A source tells Carchia that Muhammad is leaning toward signing a deal with a Chinese team – possibly Jiangsu – if he doesn’t quickly find a new NBA home.
  • While some fans may argue that it’s far too early to start talking about the 2019 NBA draft, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Insider link) is already looking ahead to 2020. Givony’s first mock draft for ’20 features center James Wiseman at No. 1, point guard Cole Anthony at No. 2, and power forward Jaden McDaniels rounding out the top three. All three remain undecided on their respective colleges.
  • Luka Doncic has received more hype than any other international NBA prospect in recent years, but there are plenty of other players overseas worth keeping an eye on going forward. Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press identifies five foreign-born prospects who are on NBA teams’ radars.

Bucks Waive Shabazz Muhammad

The Bucks have waived veteran swingman Shabazz Muhammad, according to an announcement from the club (Twitter link). The move reduces Milwaukee’s roster count to 19 players, with two more cuts required to reach the regular season roster limit.

Muhammad, who will turn 26 next month, finished last season with Milwaukee after being bought out by the Timberwolves. The former first-round pick looked good in limited action with the Bucks in 11 regular season contests, pouring in 8.5 PPG on .552/.375/.895 shooting in just 10.6 minutes per game. However, he didn’t play much in the postseason and didn’t receive any guaranteed money when the club re-signed him this summer.

With Muhammad no longer in the mix for Milwaukee’s 15th roster spot, the battle for that slot appears to be down to Tyler Zeller, Tim Frazier, and Christian Wood. If they want to carry more than one of those players to start the regular season, the Bucks would need to waive or trade one of their 14 players with a fully guaranteed salary.

Muhammad will become an unrestricted free agent if he goes unclaimed on waivers on Saturday.

Bucks Notes: Wood, Muhammad, Budenholzer, New Arena

Christian Wood appears to have the advantage in the battle for the Bucks’ final roster spot based on his performance in today’s intrasquad scrimmage, according to Matt Velazquez of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The team entered training camp with 14 guaranteed contracts and four players competing for one position: Wood, Shabazz Muhammad, Tim Frazier and Tyler Zeller.

Wood, who signed with the Bucks last week, stood out today with several offensive rebounds, a few 3-pointers and a steady performance on defense. He has been trying to earn an NBA job since leaving Nevada-Las Vegas in 2015, but has played in just 30 combined games with the Sixers and Hornets.

Muhammad, who came to Milwaukee in March after being waived by the Timberwolves, was also impressive enough to get noticed by Khris Middleton.

“C-Wood and Bazz, they’re competing for a roster spot and you could tell by the way they played,” Middleton said. “They were everywhere.”

There’s more Bucks news to pass along, all courtesy of Velazquez:

  • New coach Mike Budenholzer’s philosophy was on display in the scrimmage as even the centers were taking a healthy number of 3-pointers. Brook Lopez made three from long distance in a 4 1/2-minute stretch and Wood impressed with his outside marksmanship as well. Even John Henson, who has taken just 13 shots from 3-point range in his career, was experimenting with them. “We’re encouraging a lot of spacing, guys having a lot of confidence,” Budenholzer said. “It felt like we shot a ton of them.”
  • The Bucks are hoping to use their bench more than in past seasons, and today’s action suggests there are a lot of players who can contribute. Ersan Ilyasova and Pat Connaughton, who both signed as free agents over the summer, provide two more outside shooting threats. Rookie Donte DiVincenzo looked promising and holdovers Tony Snell, Matthew Dellavedova and Thon Maker seemed more comfortable in Budenholzer’s new system.
  • The scrimmage was the first event at the Bucks’ new Fiserv Forum, and the noise level was noticeable, even though the building was only partially filled. Players are hoping the new arena will provide a greater homecourt advantage than the old Bradley Center.

Shabazz Muhammad Signs With Bucks

SEPTEMBER 22: The signing is official, per the Bucks.

AUGUST 13: Shooting guard Shabazz Muhammad has agreed to re-sign with the Bucks, Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports tweets. It’s a deal that will allow him to compete for a roster spot during training camp, Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets.

Muhammad played 11 games with Milwaukee last season after getting bought out by the Timberwolves. Muhammad also appeared in four postseason games with Milwaukee.

He averaged 5.0 PPG in 9.7 MPG while playing in a combined 43 regular-season games for those teams. Muhammad has averaged 9.0 PPG and 2.8 RPG in 17.2 MPG over 278 career NBA games.

Muhammad will join a crowd at shooting guard that includes Tony Snell, Malcolm Brogdon and Donte DiVincenzo, though he could also play some small forward.

The Bucks already had 14 players with guaranteed contracts, four with non- or partially-guaranteed deals, and two on two-way pacts, so they’ll need to trade or waive someone to officially sign Muhammad. They also used up their mid-level and bi-annual exceptions on other free agents.

FA Rumors: Ferrell, Goodwin, Muhammad

After having seemingly reached a two-year contract agreement with the Mavericks, Yogi Ferrell elected this morning to re-enter free agency. However, he doesn’t intend to drag out the process. According to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link), Ferrell plans to make a decision within the next day or so.

Ferrell has received some interest from a handful of teams, including the Cavaliers and Pelicans, Charania reports, though a source tells Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com (Twitter link) that Cleveland’s interest came early in free agency. The Cavs haven’t had contact with Ferrell’s agent during the last couple weeks, says MacMahon.

As for New Orleans, the Pelicans used their full mid-level exception on Julius Randle and spent most of their bi-annual exception on Elfrid Payton. As such, the club couldn’t offer Ferrell more than the minimum. An offer that modest seems unlikely to win out, though it’s worth noting that a fully guaranteed two-year minimum contract would feature more guaranteed money than the Mavs’ offer did.

As we wait to see where Ferrell lands, here are a few more notes and rumors on free agents:

  • Multiple NBA teams have expressed interest in former first-round pick Archie Goodwin, tweets Michael Scotto of The Athletic. However, Goodwin is seriously considering a lucrative contract offer from a Chinese team and is expected to head overseas unless an NBA team offers him a fully guaranteed salary for 2018/19, per Scotto.
  • In a conversation with Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype, free agent wing Shabazz Muhammad – another former first-round pick – says he’s in the best shape of his life. Muhammed, who remains on the lookout for a new NBA home, is also trying to improve his outside shooting, telling Kalbrosky that he’s shooting hundreds of corner threes every day.
  • Veteran NBA point guard Tyler Ennis, who was waived by the Lakers in June, has signed a two-year deal with Fenerbahce Istanbul, according to the EuroLeague’s official site. Before heading to Europe, Ennis appeared in 186 NBA games over the last four seasons, spending time with the Suns, Bucks, Rockets, and Lakers.

Central Notes: Hood, Nance Jr., Hill, Muhammad

Rodney Hood and Larry Nance Jr. were inserted into the Cavs’ starting lineup on Monday and coach Tyronn Lue said those changes will remain for awhile, Joe Vardon of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Nance is replacing Tristan Thompson, who will be out multiple games with an ankle sprain suffered on Saturday. Hood will replace Cedi Osman, who has started nine games since Kevin Love broke his hand. The new-look lineup will be used at least until Thompson returns, Lue added to Vardon and other media members. “Nance is starting and he’s been our boost off the bench defensively and his energy,” Lue said. “Now we need someone like Cedi to come off the bench and give us that same boost and that same energy defensive-wise.”

In other developments around the Central Division:

  • George Hill said the Cavs are still early in the process of building chemistry with all the roster changes that were made. Hill is one of those players after getting dealt by the Kings right before the trade deadline. “Once teams start scouting and figuring things out, we’ve just got to figure it out ourselves,” he told Vardon in a separate piece. “Where we’re going as a team and what’s going to be our identity? It’s all new schemes for us defensively for four guys coming into a rotation to play with a playoff team like this is totally different. It’s going to take time.”
  • Shabazz Muhammad didn’t play on Sunday after joining the Bucks but he expects to jump into the rotation soon, as he told Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Muhammad signed with Milwaukee after he was bought out by the Timberwolves last week. “I think I’ll probably get some minutes off the bench — that’s why I came here, to help out,” Muhammad told Velazquez.

Bucks Waive Kilpatrick, Sign Shabazz Muhammad

MARCH 4th, 6:22pm: The Bucks have officially signed Muhammad, according to a team press release.

MARCH 1st, 11:14pm: The Bucks have formally waived Kilpatrick, the team announced tonight (via Twitter).

9:44pm: It’s official that the Bucks will waive Kilpatrick. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets that they’ll do so before the deadline (11:00pm CST) so that he would be playoff-eligible should he land somewhere else this season.

9:25pm: Recently bought-out swingman Shabazz Muhammad plans to commit to the Bucks when he clears waivers, Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports tweets. We wrote about the Timberwolves’ decision to part ways with the veteran earlier today.

While Matt Velasquez of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets that there’s no indication what the corresponding roster move will be to make space for the signing, Darren Wolfson of 5 Eye Witness News tweets that word is it will be Sean Kilpatrick who is eventually let go. (This has since been corroborated by several writers, including ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski).

In a follow-up to his initial tweet, Charania adds that the Bucks had been interested in Muhammad back in the offseason. In September, however, the 25-year-old inked a two-year pact with the only franchise he’d ever known.

While Muhammad’s role with the Wolves has been negligible this season, he’s been a reliable source of perimeter offense at times throughout his career. Muhammad will slot in on a Bucks roster light on prototypical perimeter threats.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 3/2/18

Here are Friday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Timberwolves have recalled rookie big man Justin Patton from the G League, according to a team press release. Patton, who has yet to make his NBA debut, may provide some emergency frontcourt depth for Minnesota on Friday night, with Shabazz Muhammad gone and Taj Gibson injured.
  • Cavaliers center Ante Zizic continues to bounce back and forth between the NBA and G League, with the team announcing in a press release that he has been re-assigned to Canton. The Cavs’ G League affiliate will host the Grand Rapids Drive on Friday night, so Zizic should be in Canton’s starting lineup for that game.
  • The Spurs have sent guards Brandon Paul and Derrick White to the G League, the team announced today in a press release. The backcourt duo figures to suit up for the Austin Spurs on Friday night as San Antonio’s G League affiliate hosts the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
  • The Jazz have recalled Tony Bradley from the Salt Lake City Stars, according to the team’s website. Bradley has had 16 trips to the G League this season.

Timberwolves Buy Out Shabazz Muhammad

8:31pm: The Wolves announced in a press release that they have officially waived Muhammad.

7:28pm: The Timberwolves and forward Shabazz Muhammad have agreed to a contract buyout that will allow Muhammad to reach free agency, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Michael Scotto and Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic first reported (via Twitter) that the two sides were engaged in buyout negotiations.Shabazz Muhammad vertical

By completing the buyout before the end of the day on March 1, Muhammad will retain his postseason eligibility for a new club, and Wojnarowski notes that the former lottery pick is hoping to catch on with a contender. According to Krawczynski (Twitter link), Muhammad’s camp had been discussing a buyout for the last two months, and Minnesota “finally relented.”

“I’m very happy and can’t wait to get my next opportunity,” Muhammad told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link).

Muhammad is just 25 years old and was a highly touted prospect out of UCLA, but after a couple promising seasons, he has seen his numbers drop off a cliff this year. With 3.8 PPG on .388/.211/.710 shooting, Muhammad has appeared in just 32 games for Minnesota in 2017/18, having fallen out of the rotation.

While Muhammad has historically been a more productive scorer than he has shown this season, he has never been a particularly strong rebounder (2.8 career RPG), facilitator (0.5 APG), or outside shooter (.317 3PT%). So it remains to be seen whether any contending team will have serious interest in bringing him aboard for the stretch run.

As for the Timberwolves, releasing Muhammad will reduce their roster count to 13 players on standard NBA contracts, so they’ll need to add someone soon to get back up to the NBA-mandated minimum of 14. Minnesota also figures to remain on the hook for Muhammad’s full $1,577,230 salary for this season, but we’ll see if he gave up most or all of his $1,795,015 player option for 2018/19 as part of the buyout agreement.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.