Lakers reportedly drawing interest from former UCLA star

Minnesota Timberwolves v Brooklyn Nets

The NBA Draft is a tricky thing, and college players projected at the top of the group sometimes see their stock drop considerably through the college year.

That's the story of Shabazz Muhammad, who went from a top-three projected talent at the start of his college career with the UCLA Bruins, to going in the middle of the first-round at 14th overall back in 2013. His career has been far from the smashing success expected coming out of high school.

Muhammad has spent all four seasons of his career with the Minnesota Timberwolves, but the 24-year-old Los Angeles-native remains as an interesting unrestricted free agent still lingering on the market. A return to Southern California might be on his agenda, though. 

Muhammad is considering signing with the Los Angeles Lakers, reports Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. The Lakers may have an in on Muhammad, with current general manager Rob Pelinka once representing Shabazz back when he was still an agent. 

The Lakers have one roster spot open and a $4.3 million room exception they can offer to Muhammad. Combine that with the Lakers' future looking brighter following a summer of changes, and a return home to Los Angeles, and it makes some sense that Muhammad would have interest in joining the purple and gold. 

Why Los Angeles would be interested is a different question, though. Muhammad is still young and was once a highly-touted prospect, but his career has fallen far from the stellar projections once placed on him. Shabazz would be a reclamation project for the Lakers, but one that could be a low-risk, high-reward situation. 

Minnesota v UCLA

Muhammad has averaged 9.7 points, 3 rebounds and .6 assists per game through his career. Those numbers are low, no doubt, but he's also played limited minutes as a role player for Minnesota. Ultimately the lion's share of wing minutes were given to Andrew Wiggins for the Timberwolves, and rightfully so. 

This would be a move to shore up their small forward depth from the Lakers, who have Brandon Ingram slotted as the starting wing there. Behind Ingram, the Lakers are limited at the slot. Muhammad would be an interesting prospect to consider, and Pelinka should have a very strong idea about what his former client brings to the table on and off the court. 

It wouldn't be a splashy move from the Lakers, but with a little bit of roster flexibility left to utilize, it might be the best most possible left for them to make. 

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