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Shabazz Muhammad Wants Out

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Muhammad wants to be traded or waived before Thursday’s deadline.

NBA: Miami Heat at Minnesota Timberwolves Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA trade deadline is rapidly approaching and while many expect the Wolves to be quiet, opting to stick with what they have before potentially sifting through the buyout market, Shabazz Muhammad has requested to be traded or waived, according to Woj.

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 wanting out of Minnesota comes as little surprise, as he’s fallen completely out of the rotation over the last two months. He has collected 24 DNP’s this season and typically only ever sets foot on the floor these days if the game has already been decided late in the fourth. The Artist Formerly Known as “Bazzy Buckets” is clearly no longer part of the long-term plans in Minnesota and isn’t looked at as one of the primary bench scorers, someone who can bring instant energy and hustle off the pine like in year’s past.

Under Tom Thibodeau, the lack of defense and consistent mistakes have bought him a permanent place on the bench. Instead of hunting for buckets like usual, Muhammad has joined the likes of Aaron Brooks and Cole Aldrich as the end of bench non-factors. Unlike those veterans, he has not been content. His request to be moved makes it clear he has no interest in simply watching and cheering along but...maybe that’s as good as it’s ever going to get. Second-year wing Marcus Georges-Hunt has also played a subtle role in this. He’s worked his way into a few minutes here and there, and those were some of the limited minutes available to Muhammad under head coach Tom Thibodeau.

After playing out his rookie deal with the Wolves, Muhammad found little interest for his services on the open market this offseason. Both sides agreed in September that a 2-year $3.37 million reunion may be mutually beneficial, but the contract that brought Muhammad back to the only NBA team he has ever played for has not worked out for either side. Now an exit from the team, through various possible avenues (they can trade him, waive him, buy him out, or use the stretch provision) seems all but likely in the next week.

It’s difficult to imagine many front offices being interested in Muhammad as an individual asset given his lack of wing skills, meaning an additional asset—the OKC draft pick, a future second rounder, or Cole Aldrich’s favorable contract that only has $2,056,021 guaranteed next season if waived on or before 6/20/18—will likely need to be in play to move him. Otherwise, the Wolves may have to grant Muhammad’s wishes and work with his camp to give him the chance to start fresh with a new organization.

The question is, will that opportunity even be available for a player that is currently dead last in ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus at -5.49? Stay tuned...