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Miami Heat Should Pursue Michael Beasley on Training Camp Contract

September 4th, 2013 No comments

Update (10/26): The Heat did indeed sign Michael Beasley to a make-good, training camp contract on September 11 and Beasley has made the opening night roster. His contract remains fully non-guaranteed until January 10, which essentially means he gets paid by the day. 

Who is Michael Beasley? Can he help a team win basketball games?

It’s all a matter of perspective.

***

The Phoenix Suns would tell you rather emphatically that he’s toxic.

They’ll point to his struggles off the court.

Beasley was arrested in August for suspicion of drug possession after an officer detected the smell of marijuana coming from his vehicle, the third of three serious legal issues this year alone for the troubled forward who has yet to be cleared in a sexual assault case being investigated by Scottsdale police. In January, a woman accused Beasley and another man of assaulting her in Beasley’s home. No one has been charged. Just two weeks after the claim was made, police cited Beasley for several offenses including speeding, driving on a suspended Arizona license, driving without a vehicle license plate, and driving with an expired registration. Beasley was reportedly traveling 71 miles per hour in a 45-MPH zone at 1:10 am in a Mercedes which had a gun with one bullet loaded inside the chamber.

They’ll point to his lack of production on the court.

Beasley’s production has declined in each of his five seasons in the league. He had his worst year yet for the Suns last season, scoring just 10.1 points per game on 40% shooting as the team’s projected number one scoring option and putting out virtually no effort on defense. His struggles individually contributed largely to the failures of the team as a whole, causing the Suns to spiral to the fourth worst record in the league, leading to the firing of head coach Alvin Gentry midway through the year, and when things had completely fallen apart by year’s end, resulting in the firing of General Manager Lance Blanks.

The Beasley free agent signing was a disaster for the Suns franchise. They waived him yesterday, less than 14 months after he signed his three-year, $18.0 million contract with a promise to turn his life around. He was set to make $6.0 million in 2013-14 and $6.3 million in 2014-15, although only $3.0 million was guaranteed in the latter year.

In conjunction with his release, Beasley agreed to a $7.0 million buyout. He will be paid $4.7 million of that total by the Suns this season, and an additional $778K for each of the next three seasons.

Suns President Lon Babby issued a statement upon Beasley’s release that read, “The Suns were devoted to Michael Beasley’s success in Phoenix. However, it is essential that we demand the highest standards of personal and professional conduct as we develop a championship culture. Today’s action reflects our commitment to those standards.”

New General Manager Ryan McDonough added, “We have high standards for all of our players. We expect them to represent the team and the community in a positive manner both on and off the court.”

It was the equivalent of the Suns telling Beasley directly “We don’t want you anywhere near our franchise anymore.”

Beasley has never lived up to his selection as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft, either personally or professionally, nor has he lived up to the $28.0 million he’s guaranteed himself thus far into his NBA career. In this context, it would appear as if the logical choice would be for him to simply fade away from the league in a cloud of marijuana smoke.

Read more…

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Heat send Michael Beasley to Timberwolves

July 9th, 2010 No comments

The cloud of mystery that has surrounded the stay of Michael Beasley in South Florida for the past two seasons has been lifted. The talented but troubled forward will be traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves, as previously speculated.

Per Marc Stein and Chad Ford of ESPN:

The Miami Heat have found a trade taker for Michael Beasley that will create more salary-cap space for the dramatic transformation of their roster.

Sources close to the situation told ESPN.com that the Heat have agreed on a trade that will send Beasley to the Minnesota Timberwolves, who can absorb Beasley’s contract into their salary-cap space.

Minnesota, according to sources, will complete the trade by sending Miami a second-round pick in 2011. The Wolves and Heat, sources said, have also agreed to swap an unspecified future first-round pick.

While the consideration offered for Beasley does not seem like much of a return in exchange for the young and promising second overall pick from the 2008 NBA Draft, Pat Riley has bigger plans in mind. The $5.0 million in salary cap space gained is enough to guarantee maximum contracts for each of Wade, James and Bosh, with an additional $2,149,883 to spare.

However, Riley has already secured commitments from each that they would be willing to shave money off their deals in order to acquire additional talent. It seems likely that the savings will therefore be re-directed to fill more pressing needs in the rotation.

Three-point specialists Mike Miller and Kyle Korver as well as point guard Derek Fisher, all unrestricted free agents, could be among the targets. The Heat has reportedly made an offer to Miller, which was to expire at midnight, in the range of $27 million to $30 million over five seasons. The executed Beasley transaction could be a signal that Miller has accepted the offer.

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Bobcats, Rockets Enter Bosh Sign-and-Trade Discussions

July 8th, 2010 3 comments

It appears as though Michael Beasley may not be part of Pat Riley’s vision for the future of the Miami Heat organization.

Per Chad Ford and Marc Stein of ESPN:

Sources say that a four-team trade scenario between the Heat, Raptors, Bobcats and Rockets hatched on the eve of LeBron’s hour-long “Decision” special on ESPN would enable Toronto to bring back an asset or two in the wake of Chris Bosh’s departure but also avoid taking back Beasley. Which is believed to be the only sort of sign-and-trade that the Raptors would consider.

The proposed deal, sources said, would send Beasley and Rockets forward Jared Jeffries to Charlotte, land Bobcats center Tyson Chandler in Houston and create sufficient cap space for Heat president Pat Riley to offer max-contract money to Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and James.

The Heat and Raptors engaged in discussions for several hours after Bosh and Wade announced that they were committing to Miami in a package about the various sign-and-trade options. Discussions were serious enough Wednesday night, according to two sources, that Heat officials told Beasley to start preparing to relocate.

Such a transaction would be contingent on the approval of Toronto general manager Bryan Colangelo which, despite significant financial rationale, has yet to be given. The Raptors appear unwilling to play a part in any transaction that would make Bosh’s departure more lucrative as well as aid the Heat in the possible acquisition of LeBron James.

If the Raptors ultimately consent to a sign-and-trade, Bosh would be able to sign a six-year max contract with the Heat worth approximately $125.5 million, and Wade and James could secure maximum contracts as well. As of now, if the trio split the shortfall equal, they would each fall $937,452 short of maximum dollars, which equates to $7,101,099 over the life of a six-year max deal utilizing full Bird rights and $5,437,222 over the life of potential five-year non-Bird max contract.

Toronto, meanwhile, would come away with a combination of Rockets personnel set to make at least $3.1 million in salary in the coming season as well as a trade exception as large as $13.5 million. Alternatively, the Raptors could secure Beasley and a trade exception worth more than $11.6 million in a direct Heat-Raptors sign-and-trade scenario. It is yet to be determined whether any additional considerations (potentially up to $3 million in cash and/or draft picks) would be included by the Heat in any such package.

It has also been suggested that the Heat may have alternative plans for the cap room a Beasley departure would free up. Mike Miller has reportedly been offered a five-year deal, worth approximately $27 million to $30 million. If Miller were to accept the offer, his contract would likely have a starting salary of between $4,655,172 and $5,172,414 in the coming season. Beasley is set to make $4,962,240.

Minnesota’s Moves May be Telling

July 1st, 2010 7 comments

Some interesting developments have taken place today in Minnesota.

The Wolves have agreed to terms with two centers: free agent Darko Milicic and 2008 second-round draft pick Nikola Pekovic.

Milicic agreed to a rather eye-popping 4-year, $20 million contract. Just five months ago, the seven-footer wasn’t getting any floor time, and was seriously contemplating giving up on the NBA to return to Europe. Pekovic has a verbal agreement in place on a 3-year, $13 million contract. He has played for Greek powerhouse Panathinaikos for the past two seasons, staking his claim as one of the best centers not in the NBA. The deal, as reported, could be the most lucrative rookie contract for a second-round pick in NBA history, though it doesn’t seem particularly unreasonable.

In and of themselves, these additions are of no particular interest in South Florida. When combined, however, they are sure to raise an eyebrow or two.

If you recall, the Wolves are the team whose general manager, David Kahn, was reported to have a strong interest in Michael Beasley. In fact, Kahn confirmed on Sunday that he had previously contacted the Heat about trading for Beasley. The deal would have sent Beasley to the Wolves in exchange for Ryan Gomes.

The Wolves entered free agency with as much as $16,433,494 of available cap space at current salary cap projections. If we assume Milicic’s first year salary is $4,319,654 (based on the annual 10.5% raises he’d be eligible for) and Pekovic’s is $4,000,000 (based on the annual 8.0% raises he’d be eligible for), Minnesota will have reduced its total cap space to $8,113,840. However, the team also holds draft rights to Ricky Rubio, at a cost of $2,812,200, which it is not about to just throw away. Therefore, if the above assumptions are correct, after these two trades the Wolves will have a grand total of $5,301,640 in available and unencumbered cap space.

Guess whose salary that is just enough to accommodate?

Michael Beasley is set to make $4,962,240.

Is it possible that Minnesota is saving up just enough money to take on Beasley? Is it possible that a deal with Pat Riley and the Heat is already in place?

Of course, this is just wild speculation. But it is original. And the numbers sure seem oddly accommodating.

Interesting Developments in Grizzlie-land

May 16th, 2010 No comments

In what is perhaps some small measure of vindication for Heat president Pat Riley, Memphis has invited undersized 6’4″ shooting guard O.J. Mayo to participate in their summer league. The goal for Mayo would be to improve his point guard skills. Mayo’s shaky ball handling and poor decision-making have been major deficiencies throughout his first N.B.A. two seasons.

If you recall, Riley gave serious consideration to drafting Mayo with the second overall pick in the 2008 N.B.A. draft, before ultimately selecting Michael Beasley.

Draft analysts automatically assumed Beasley and Derrick Rose would go with the first and second picks in the draft. Many even considered Beasley to be the more talented. Mayo was therefore viewed as being a reach with the second overall pick at the time. Riley, however, had visions of turning Mayo into a point guard, in order to create a dynamic backcourt pairing with Dwyane Wade. The Heat needed (and continue to need) outside shooting, and using the second pick on Mayo could have added a ton of it. It was felt that Mayo could tee off from deep while Wade drove hard to the basket. Mayo also had the ability to create his own shot at will. Ultimately, Riley did not see enough to upend the more popular selection.

Mayo was then drafted with the third overall pick by the Memphis Grizzlies.

While Riley’s assessment of Mayo’s point guard skills appears to have been proven correct thus far into his N.B.A. career, the unexpected gem at the position appears to have come in the fourth spot in the draft, where the Seattle Supersonics – the Oklahoma City Thunder predecessor – selected Russell Westbrook. Westbrook has yet to develop a reliable outside shot, but his contributions in all other phases of the game have him as a sure-fire perennial all-star. However, without the ability to space the floor, even Westbrook may not have produced a quality backcourt pairing for Wade. In fact, no other 2008 draftee has shown the backcourt skills that would cause one to second guess Riley’s decision to draft in the frontcourt. While the frontcourt selection can certainly be second guessed, namely due to the superb play of 7’0″ center Brook Lopez, Beasley was widely considered the wise choice at the time.

Now just two years later, questions abound as to whether the Heat should, or even could, abandon its attempts to further develop Beasley and trade him.

Ironically, the answer to Beasley’s fate could once again be tied to the Grizzlies. Read more…

Beasley Trade Expectiations

April 21st, 2010 No comments

Let’s discuss Michael Beasley for a moment.

For whatever reason, he’s not living up to expectations.

The sad truth is that he was an unwise draft selection for the Miami Heat.

It’s a shame when you consider that beneath his personal and professional struggles is a truly nice guy.

It’s a shame when you consider how much talent was available to the Heat at positions of greater need – from point guard Russell Westbrook, to power forward Kevin Love, to center Brook Lopez to name a few.

Some of us blame Pat Riley for drafting him, some of us blame Erik Spoelstra for the way in which he has been handled. Some of us blame Dywane Wade for his lack of mentorship. Others of us put the blame squarely on Michael’s shoulders.

At this point, it doesn’t matter who’s at fault. The only thing that matters is putting championship-caliber pieces around Dwyane Wade in the offseason.

Michael Beasley should not be one of those pieces. At this point, a separation is as good for Michael as it is for Miami. And it’s coming. It’s inevitable. As soon as the Heat successfully signs Bosh or Stoudemire or Boozer, Michael becomes expendable and clearing his salary more valuable. So the question is not what the Heat should do with him but rather what it can expect in return for him.

Expecting much of value in return for Beasley will not be easy.

Consider the perception of him from those outside of South Florida. Off the court, he has had a worrisome and checkered past. On the court, he appears very unpolished and, even worse, all-too-often completely lost. Nobody’s quite sure if he’s a small forward or power forward. His physical attributes – height, weight, shoulder width, etc. – suggest he’s the former but he seems to perform better as the latter. He can’t defend either position.

All indications thus far seem to suggest interest in the troubled forward from around the league is waning. The Heat were interested in Amare Stoudemire at the trade deadline but never offered Beasley up in return, instead communicating a commitment to build around him as a cornerstone.

Since that time, Beasley’s game has deteriorated. He’s averaging a mere 13.1 points, on 42.0% shooting, and 5.6 rebounds per game. In the playoffs, his production has been worse. Last night was telling. He was playing in front of a national audience. The entire country was watching. He was matched up against the undersized and not so fleet-of-foot Celtics backup power forward Glenn Davis, a great match-up for the swift and agile Beasley in his bid for redemption. And he stunk.

People have thrown around Beasley trade proposals involving anyone from Darren Collison to Tyreke Evans to Stephen Curry (my favorite N.B.A. point guard, a must-acquire for the Heat if at all possible, no matter what it costs, short of Wade, though it’s not possible, and I’m just dreaming) to Chris Bosh. Such proposals would seem ludicrous at this point. I would suggest that we all temper our expectations just a bit. Right now, the bigger worry is about Miami’s ability to move him – and his $5 million expiring contract – at all.

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