Out of the rotation and clearly out of Minnesota Timberwolves president and coach Tom Thibodeau’s plans, guard Shabazz Muhammad has requested to the franchise that it move or waive him before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, league sources told ESPN.
Muhammad’s representatives recently made the request to the Timberwolves front office, league sources said.
Players and agents are forbidden under rules in the collective bargaining agreement to publicly state a wish for a trade without incurring a financial fine, but they are allowed to make those requests privately to the team.
Muhammad re-signed with the Timberwolves last offseason with hopes of a substantial bench role, only to find Thibodeau reverting to the longstanding practices of shorter bench rotations and heavy starter minutes that became a staple of his five years as Chicago Bulls coach.
Muhammad, 25, has been benched with DNP’s in 23 of the team’s past 32 games, averaging 9.7 minutes per game.
After several conversations with Thibodeau and contact with owner Glen Taylor in the summer, Muhammad, the 14th overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft, returned to Minnesota on a two-year deal with a player option. He had a belief that keeping his Bird Rights with the franchise would pay off in free agency in the summer of 2018, if he indeed declined the player option on next year’s $1.8 million salary and become an unrestricted free agent.
Now, it appears that Muhammad is completely out of the franchise’s plans, all but eliminating the Timberwolves as a possibility to re-sign him in July.
Minnesota is 33-22 entering Saturday night’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans and holding onto the fourth seed in the Western Conference playoff race. In his fifth season with the Timberwolves, Muhammad has dropped to 9.6 minutes and 3.7 points per game. He averaged 9.9, 10.5 and 13.5 points a game in his past three seasons, respectively.
Another player who signed with the Timberwolves as a free agent last summer, Jamal Crawford, has publicly expressed some surprise at the limited minutes he’s played this season, especially based upon his conversations with the organization before committing to a two-year deal.