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.
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.