Timberwolves’ Flip Saunders threatens to send Shabazz Muhammad to D-League
Two days after first-round pick Shabazz Muhammad was sent home from the NBA’s Rookie Transition Program, Timberwolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders said on a Minnesota radio show on Friday that Muhammad could be sent to the Developmental League.
In an interview with KFAN’s Dan Barreiro, Saunders said the news of Muhammad’s rules violation — he was dismissed for having a “female guest” in his hotel room without staff approval — was “disappointing” and implied that he could force Muhammad to play for the Iowa Energy, the Timberwolves’ D-League affiliate.
“In our league, you have to be disciplined and being ‘disciplined’ is being able to adhere to whatever rules are given and you gotta abide by the rules,” Saunders said on the local radio host’s show. “So that’s been disappointing. But when I talk to him, he’s either gonna learn the rules and learn to abide by things with the big boys or he’s gonna really quick learn a geography class: where Des Moines is in the NBDL down in Iowa.”
The 20-year-old Muhammad has been surrounded by controversy since his commitment to UCLA last year.
He was initially ruled ineligible to play because of financial benefits he received while making unofficial visits. He later caused a stir for wearing a Gucci backpack and being a year older than he claimed, and gained a reputation for being selfish, causing his stock to drop from potential top overall pick to mid-first-rounder.
Minnesota acquired the shooting guard/small forward, the 14th pick in the first round, in a draft-day trade that sent their No. 9 pick, point guard Trey Burke, to the Jazz.