Free Agent Stock Watch: Michael Beasley

As teams look to make high-upside, low-risk pickups around this time of year, they could do a whole lot worse than adding a former No. 2 overall pick.  Forward Michael Beasley remains on the open market and it certainly stands to reason that he could be had for a minimum salary deal.  There has been interest out there for the talented but troubled 25-year-old but at this moment it’s not clear where he might wind up.

The Lakers, who are one of several teams that are limited to offering the minimum salary, auditioned Beasley late last month.  It would seem to be a logical pairing for a Lakers team that could probably use a boost in talent after losing Pau Gasol to free agency and whiffing on their top targets, including Carmelo Anthony.  However, since the July 30th tryout, the Lakers have added a couple of players – ex-Michigan State point guard Keith Appling and former UNLV and UConn forward Roscoe Smith – on training camp deals, so it’s not clear if B-Easy is truly in the plans in Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, a return to Heat could still be a possibility even though it appeared to be a longshot at one point given his limited role in the postseason.  When asked if Beasley could get a new deal in Miami, team president Pat Riley responded, “He’s still a consideration, absolutely.”  It’s not hard to see why, even though he fell out of favor in Miami’s rotation when it counted the most.  Beasley still averaged 7.9 points and 3.1 rebounds in 15.1 minutes per game across 55 regular season appearances and his 16.8 PER, above the league average, was the second best of his six-year career.  However, the Heat recently added Shawne Williams, who would appear to be a replacement for Beasley off the bench. If Riley opened the door to a reunion on July 31st, the addition of Williams has closed it at least part of the way.

It’s hard to say where Beasley will end up since there are now roadblocks with the two clubs that have been publicly linked to him.  However, agent Jared Karnes maintained in late July that multiple teams aside from Miami have expressed interest, so there should be a place for him somewhere.

This is entirely speculative, but it’s conceivable that the Cavs, who are looking to add frontcourt depth, could be interested in Beasley.  The Cavs hosted Shawn Marion for a visit yesterday, but they’re not the only team looking to add him, so Beasley could be a Plan B if that doesn’t pan out.  One potential roadblock there could be LeBron James and his reported dissatisfaction with Beasley’s play and focus last season in Miami.  According to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, James was furious with Beasley and his spacey antics in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.  Still, there could be a fit if Beasley can convince Cavs management and the club’s star player that he’s ready to zero in a bit more on the court.

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