Michael Beasley‘s basketball odyssey took yet another unexpected turn Thursday, when he agreed to a deal to play for China’s Shanghai Sharks and the Grizzlies obliged, waiving his non-guaranteed contract. An undisclosed illness that kept him out of the team’s first preseason game might have helped contribute to the decision, since the 25-year-old had to make the most of his time this month if he were to have made the Grizzlies regular season roster, but his departure is nonetheless surprising. Memphis has guaranteed money on the books for 14 players, which left the Jared Karnes client a decent chance to stick for opening night, just as he did on a non-guaranteed deal with the Heat last season.
The former No. 2 overall pick didn’t see an abundance of playing time for the Finals-bound Heat, but he was effective when he did hit the floor, scoring 18.9 points per 36 minutes. He appeared in 55 regular season games but only four postseason contests, as it seemed by the spring that the Heat had already moved on. Team president Pat Riley was quick to dismiss whispers that his team continued to worry about Beasley’s maturity level, but the former Kansas State standout’s reputation is still in need of heavy scrubbing. It was little more than a year ago that the Suns took the unusual step of impugning Beasley’s “personal and professional conduct” when they waived him after agreeing to a buyout deal. That didn’t stop the Spurs, who tolerate no hijinks, from working him out this summer, and the Lakers auditioned him twice.
Beasley was one of the top scorers, rebounders and three-point shooters still on the market in August before he hooked on with the Grizzlies, so it’s clear that much of the talent that made him such an intriguing prospect when he came out of Kansas State in 2008 is still there. He’s only 25, so he still has time to forge a productive NBA career, if he gets that chance. That won’t happen until the end of the Chinese season, at the earliest. Let us know whether you think Beasley will make it back to the NBA, and elaborate on your choice in the comments.