The Wolves this afternoon told little-used rookie forward Shabazz Muhammad he's being assigned to their D-League affiliate in Des Moines, Iowa, so he'll get a chance to play.

The Wolves will send a staff member with him to Iowa on Sunday during his D-League stay, which will last at least a week and four games.

He'll play in two games with the Energy at next week's D-League Showcast in Reno, Nevada, and then will play two games the following weekend, including a Jan. 12 game in Des Moines that Flip Saunders will attend.

Saunders called it the "right time" for Muhammad to get some playing time: The holidays are over and Chase Budinger will be back any game now, further crowding that small-forward posotion.

"He can play more minutes in those four or five games down there than he might play here all year," Saunders said.

Saunders said he hasn't considered asking Hummel and rookie center Gorgui Dieng to do the same because both have been part of coach Rick Adelman's rotation and Saunders and Adelman both like Dieng's physical presence in practices because his length and shot-blocking skills challenge big men Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Love, among others.

Muhammad has played sparingly in just 11 of 32 games so far this season. He was drafted 14th overall after Saunders swung a draft-night trade that sent the No. 9 pick to Utah for picks 14 and 21. The Jazz took Michigan guard Trey Burke with that ninth pick and Burke recently is playing his way into Rookie of the Year consideration on a bad Jazz team.

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