The Los Angeles Lakers front office made it very clear at the beginning of the offseason that they did not intend to be big players in free agency this summer, as they were only willing to give out one-year contracts in order to save cap space for the 2018 free agency class.
Surprisingly, the Lakers were able to make some signings that made their team significantly better, inking both Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Andrew Bogut to one-year deals while also re-signing point guard Tyler Ennis, who played well for them down the stretch last season.
Another player that the Lakers showed interest in is Shabazz Muhammad, who played his first four seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Muhammad’s rights we renounced by the Timberwolves earlier this offseason making him an unrestricted free agent, but he eventually wound up returning to Minnesota on a one-year deal. According to Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press though, Muhammad said that he was really close to signing with the Lakers:
Muhammad said he was very close to Lakers. Wanted to win in a place he felt comfortable
— Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) September 22, 2017
Muhammad signing with the Lakers could’ve made sense for both parties as Muhammad mentioned feeling comfortable in Los Angeles, which is where he played his college ball at UCLA. The Lakers also lack a true wing scorer off the bench as both Luol Deng and Corey Brewer are more known for their defense at this point in their careers.
But ultimately he decided that staying in Minnesota was the best decision for him as, although he did not receive that much money for this season, Minnesota now owns his bird rights so they can offer him a lot more money next summer if he has a good year.
Not signing Muhammad also allowed Los Angeles to give their final roster spot to Bogut, who should help out the Lakers interior defense a lot, so it ended up working out on both ends.