3:24pm: John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 disputes the notion that the Suns have any interest in a reunion with Beasley, tweeting that the report is just a case of an agent pushing his client.
8:23am: As Michael Beasley‘s one-year contract with the Knicks nears its expiration date, multiple teams are believed to be eyeing the veteran forward, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. A source tells Berman that the Hawks and Suns have interest in Beasley, who is expected to be pursued by at least five teams when he reaches free agency in July.
Beasley, 29, enjoyed one of his most productive NBA seasons in 2017/18, averaging 13.2 PPG and 5.6 RPG in 74 games (30 starts) for the Knicks. His .507 FG% and .395 3PT% were also well above his career rates.
According to Berman, Beasley is a fan of new Knicks head coach David Fizdale, whose time as an assistant in Miami overlapped with Beasley’s stint with the Heat. However, New York only has Non-Bird rights on the former second overall pick, limiting the team’s ability to offer him a raise — the Knicks would likely have to use their mid-level exception to sign Beasley.
“He definitely wants to come back to New York and play for Fizdale,” a source close to Beasley told Berman. “Fizdale is another plus. But it’s still a business.”
A source suggests to Berman that if the Knicks were to offer Beasley their full MLE, even for just one year, it “may be satisfactory.” I’d be pretty surprised if Beasley – who remains a defensive liability – receives a salary exceeding $8MM, but a one-year contract along those lines could make some sense for the Knicks, who will be without Kristaps Porzingis in the frontcourt to start the 2018/19 season.
New York isn’t expected to pursue top free agents this summer, and re-signing Beasley to a one-year deal would allow him to gain Early Bird rights for the summer of 2019. That would allow the club to make a longer-term decision on him a year from now, when the front office will have a clearer sense of how its cap room should be used.
Still, with the Hawks and Suns among the teams expected to kick the tires on Beasley this summer, and no guarantee that the Knicks won’t use their MLE on another player (or players), a return to New York is far from a lock.