A few years after the fact, the Derrick Rose vs. Michael Beasley debate that headlined the NBA draft in June 2008 seems laughable. Rose already has an MVP award under his belt, while Beasley has been inconsistent at best — he has switched teams once already and could potentially be on the move again before March 15th.
The Timberwolves acquired Beasley from the Heat in the summer of 2010, essentially giving up just a second-round pick in a deal that freed up cap space for Miami to sign its big three. While acquiring a former second overall pick for virtually nothing seemed like a coup, the Wolves have seen Beasley's production continue to slip during his time in Minnesota. Beasley's PER has declined in each of his four NBA seasons, from 17.2 in his rookie year to 13.0 this season.
The frontcourt in Minnesota is a crowded one, featuring Kevin Love, Derrick Williams, Nikola Pekovic, and a trio of former lottery picks in Beasley, Darko Milicic, and Anthony Randolph. Beasley doesn't seem to be in the team's long-term plans, having reportedly been offered to Golden State last June in a package for Monta Ellis. If the T-Wolves can find a deal that sends Beasley out of town and lands them a solid two guard, they'll likely pull the trigger.
Although Beasley hasn't developed in the way that many were expecting, he's still at least a useful rotation piece. He's shooting more three-pointers than ever this year, and hitting them at a career-best rate of 42.6%. And even though his scoring is down, this year's career-worst rate of 17.1 points per 36 minutes isn't bad. In addition to his play on the court, Beasley's contract situation makes him a useful asset. Whichever team holds Beasley at year's end would have the option of extending him a qualifying offer, making him a restricted free agent, or simply letting his $6.26MM salary come off its books.
The Lakers reportedly have some interest in Beasley, though they may prefer to use their $8.9MM trade exception to acquire a point guard. According to Peter Vecsey of the New York Post, the Celtics and Nets are also interested. Boston makes some sense, since Beasley could help out in the short-term and be added to the team's lengthy list of expiring contracts. New Jersey is a less logical short-term fit for Beasley, though his expiring deal could help the team clear cap room to make a run at Dwight Howard — plus, Anthony Morrow is a shooting guard that may interest Minnesota. Michael Pina of Hoops Rumors suggested a swap with the Mavericks that sends Shawn Marion to Minnesota could help both teams, and I think there's something to that idea, though Marion's contract (which includes a 15% trade kicker) likely wouldn't appeal to the T-Wolves.
There are enough conceivable fits for Beasley that I think the Timberwolves will be able to find a deal before the deadline, if they so choose. The offers for Beasley may not seem like much for a former second overall pick, but one thing's for certain — they'll be better than the Rockets can expect for Hasheem Thabeet.