Shabazz Muhammad

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.

Northwest Notes: Teague, Butler, Shabazz, Millsap

If the Timberwolves want to continue their winning ways while All-Star Jimmy Butler is sidelined, point guard Jeff Teague must continue to play with pace and aggression, opines Britt Robson of The Athletic Minnesota.

Despite an apparent tendency and preference to let his teammates get involved as playmakers, Teague no longer has that luxury, at least for the time being, with Butler out of the equation. Teague must also continue to push the pace of play, as he has done in the team’s last two games.

In fact, in the team’s first full game since Butler’s injury, Minnesota launched a season-high 35 three pointers, primarily a product of Teague’s ability to  get into the half-court offense quickly, beat defenders off the dribble, and present a viable threat to score at the rim or kick it out to the perimeter for a shot or extra pass.

As head coach Tom Thibodeau described, “We have to make sure we get to the right spots so we can get that pass out. And once you get that pass out, usually the second pass will get you a great shot.” 

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • Timberwolves‘ reserve guard Shabazz Muhammad is not likely to be bought out after all, tweets Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune. When asked about the possibility, Thibodeau simply said, “Nope, we like the team we have.”
  • In a piece for The Athletic Minnesota, Jon Krawczynski details Butler’s decision to have surgery on his damaged right meniscus. Fortunately for Butler and the Timberwolves, the procedure was neither a major repair nor a removal, and the hope is that he will be able to return to action without facing some of the long-term risks involved with removal.
  • With last night’s loss to the Clippers, the Nuggets have fallen to ninth place in the Western Conference, percentage points behind the Clippers, who now also own the the head-to-head tiebreaker between the two teams. Part of the problem recently is Denver’s defense, reports Gina Mizell of The Denver Post. Head coach Mike Malone is particularly frustrated, saying the recent struggles defensively have left him “questioning (his) whole being as a coach.”
  • In brighter news for the Nuggets, forward Paul Millsap played last night for the first time since he injured his left wrist on Nov. 19.

Timberwolves Open To Shabazz Muhammad Buyout

A report earlier in February indicated that Timberwolves swingman Shabazz Muhammad hoped to be traded or waived before last week’s trade deadline. While neither of those things happened, the Wolves remain open to accommodating Muhammad’s departure, majority owner Glen Taylor tells Sid Hartman of The Star Tribune details.

“Shabazz hasn’t gotten out on the floor to play very much, so he’s disappointed,” Taylor said. “He would like to get with a team that he could put in more minutes and show his skill-set. We have given the OK that if he finds such a team he can go to and wants to walk away, [he can] get out of our contract.

“My goal is I wish he could get out there; he just hasn’t had the year he anticipated or that we anticipated,” Taylor continued. “Because of that, and we’ve had so many close games, it’s hard for us to find the minutes for him. I still like him and think our fans like him. He has a different style of playing than anybody else. But on the other hand, if he can find another team that I think tells him he can get on the floor for sure, I think we’ll cooperate.”

Muhammad, 25, looked like a promising young prospect for Minnesota back in 2014/15, when he averaged 13.5 PPG on .489/.392/.717 shooting. However, his numbers – and his role – have declined since then. This season, he has played very sparingly for the new-look Wolves, averaging 3.7 PPG on .385/.211/.710 shooting in 31 games (9.6 MPG). The former lottery pick is also one of the NBA’s least effective facilitators, recording 0.5 APG in 266 career contests.

An unrestricted free agent in 2017, Muhammad sought a raise but ultimately had to settle for a two-year, minimum salary contract to return to Minnesota. The second year of that deal is a player option, which would become guaranteed if the Wolves were to waive Muhammad outright — it’s not clear if he’d be willing to give up some or all of that option salary to accommodate his release.

March 1 is the deadline to watch for the Wolves and Muhammad, who wouldn’t be playoff-eligible for a new team if he’s waived after that date.

2017/18 Buyout Market Summary

With the trade deadline in the rearview mirror, much attention is being paid to what is expected to be several weeks of busy buyout market activity. The last day that a player can be waived from their current team and still be eligible to play in the postseason with a new team is March 1.

Below are a series of lists breaking down the veterans who have already been bought out – or simply waived – by their respective teams since the trade deadline, along with those who are expected to be, and several more who really ought to be considered possible buyout candidates even if no reports have come out explicitly stating as much.

As the weeks unfold, we may see new names surface as buyout candidates, in such cases (and whenever a player is formally bought out) we’ll update the list.

Potential buyout candidates:

Expected to be bought out or released:

  • None

Veterans who have been bought out or released:

Trade Deadline Notes: Evans, Faried, Jordan, Muhammad

The Grizzlies haven’t been able to get a first-round pick for Tyreke Evans and may decide to hang onto him, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. If that happens, Memphis will try to re-sign him this summer with its mid-level exception. The Grizzlies could still get at least one second-rounder if they decide to move him today, adds Zach Lowe of ESPN. (Twitter link)

A few more last minute-notes before the deadline arrives:

  • Representatives for Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried are still hoping for a deal, Woj adds (Twitter link). Denver has discussed Faried with several teams, including the Pacers, but nothing has happened yet.
  • The Cavaliers talked to the Clippers this morning about DeAndre Jordan, but opted for for a series of deals that gave them more athleticism, youth and depth, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.
  • The Timberwolves may buy out Shabazz Muhammad if they can’t work out a last-minute deal, according to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link). A source tells Spears he will be a coveted free agent if that happens.
  • The trade of Noah Vonleh to the Bulls is the last one the Trail Blazers plan to make today, relays Jason Quick of NBC Sports Northwest (Twitter link). That deal was enough to get Portland under the luxury tax.

Northwest Rumors: Nuggets, Wolves, Noah

The Nuggets are a team to watch as today’s trade deadline approaches, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who tweets that Denver is “active on several fronts.” The club is trying to land Tyreke Evans and is looking to move players like Emmanuel Mudiay and Wilson Chandler. The Nuggets are also willing to use a draft pick to incentivize a team to take on Kenneth Faried, Woj adds.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Having talked to sources around the NBA, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic tweets that things remain quiet on the Timberwolves‘ front. Shabazz Muhammad may be dealt, but there doesn’t seem to be much else happening for now, says Krawczynski.
  • The Knicks aren’t expected to find a trade partner willing to take Joakim Noah. However, opposing executives believe the Thunder and Timberwolves will be among the teams with interest in Noah if he’s waived or bought out, sources tell Ian Begley of ESPN (Twitter link).
  • Nuggets center Mason Plumlee, who has been sidelined with a right calf strain, is on track to return to action after the All-Star break, writes Christopher Dempsey of

Shabazz Muhammad Wants Out Of Minnesota

Timberwolves guard Shabazz Muhammad has asked to be traded or waived before Thursday’s deadline, according to Adrian Wojnarwoski of ESPN.

After being part of Minnesota’s rotation the past two seasons, Muhammad has seen a sharp drop in playing time this year, down to 9.6 minutes per night. He hasn’t played at all in 23 of the team’s last 32 games.

Muhammad re-signed with the Wolves over the offseason, expecting to continue in the reserve role he had become accustomed to. However, once Minnesota upgraded its roster by trading for Jimmy Butler and signing Jeff Teague and Taj Gibson, coach Tom Thibodeau adopted the shorter rotations he was known for in Chicago, Wojnarowski notes. He adds that Jamal Crawford, who signed with the Wolves during the summer, has voiced similar complaints about playing time.

Muhammad, 25, has a two-year deal that pays him nearly $1.6MM this season with a player option worth nearly $1.8MM for 2018/19. Wojnarowski writes that Muhammad had numerous conversations with Thibodeau and owner Glen Taylor before deciding to re-sign and believed that keeping his Bird Rights with Minnesota would benefit him if he opted out this summer.

However, any chance of him remaining with the franchise appears to be gone, as he doesn’t seem to be in the Wolves’ plans for the future.

Although Muhammad hasn’t produced much this season, his small salary, flexible contract and past performance might make him attractive on the trade market. He has posted scoring averages of 13.5, 10.5 and 9.9 the past three seasons.

Muhammad would forfeit his Bird Rights if traded because of the one-year Bird restriction, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Any team that acquires him would have to use cap space or an exception to re-sign him.