The NBA is suspending Timberwolves swingman Malik Beasley for 12 games, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. The suspension arrives a little over two weeks following Beasley’s recent sentencing stemming from charges related to an incident last September.
Before ruling on a suspension, the league wanted to look at sentencing documents related to Beasley’s hearing, per Chris Hine of the Star Tribune (via Twitter).
The 6’4″ shooting guard out of FSU pled guilty to making threats of violence with reckless disregard to risk, after he was accused of pointing a rifle at a pregnant woman, her husband and their teenage daughter in a vehicle outside his home. Beasley was dealt a 120-day sentence in the Hennepin County Workhouse with work release and a home confinement option. He is set to begin serving out the sentence when the 2020/21 season ends.
Despite the legal case, the Timberwolves opted to retain Beasley, who was a restricted free agent, in the 2020 offseason. He was re-signed to a four-year, $60MM deal.
Beasley released a statement, per Charania (Twitter link), to address the new suspension.
“I will take this time to reflect on my decisions,” he said. “I apologize to all the great fans out there who have supported me during this difficult time and I promise I will come back very soon as a better person and player.”
Team president Gersson Rosas issued a statement of his own in response to the league’s decision, according to Jon Krawcyznski of The Athletic (via Twitter): “As an organization, we fully support today’s decision by the NBA. As we work together with Malik to advance his development as a player and a person, we look forward to seeing his growth.”
The 24-year-old Beasley has been enjoying a career season for a struggling 7-26 Minnesota squad. Across 33 games for the Timberwolves (including 32 starts), he is averaging 20.5 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 2.5 APG, and 0.8 SPG. Beasley’s shooting stats are similarly solid, as he sports a slash line of .455/.406/.847.
With Beasley out of commission, new head coach Chris Finch could look to use greener options to take over as the starting two guard. Second-year guard Jarrett Culver, the No. 6 pick out of Texas Tech in 2019, could get the nod to replace Beasley. Reserve shooting guard Josh Okogie could also see an increased minutes load with Beasley out.
Losing one of their best players over such an extended stretch could also help the Wolves further cement their status as the worst team in the league, giving them solid odds to land a blue-chipper in what is expected to be a loaded 2021 draft class — assuming they can hang onto their top-three protected pick.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.