Michael Beasley

And-Ones: Beasley, Walkup, China, Ntilikina

The Nets issued a press release two weeks ago announcing that they had signed Michael Beasley, then voided that contract after the forward tested positive for COVID-19. According to John Hollinger of The Athletic (Twitter link), Beasley’s case is technically being treated as if he failed his physical and had his contract disapproved. As Hollinger puts it, “it’s like he was never there.”

Substitute-player contracts don’t count against NBA teams’ cap sheets this summer, so the Nets’ cap will be unaffected either way. However, presumably the team won’t be on the hook for the $183K they would have owed Beasley.

More importantly, the five-game suspension that Beasley would have had to serve if he had stuck with the Nets appears to still be in play — if and when the former No. 2 pick signs with a new NBA team, he’ll still have to serve that five-game ban before being activated.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Former Stephen F. Austin guard Thomas Walkup, who has spent the last three seasons overseas, received some NBA interest, but has decided to remain with Lithuanian team Zalgiris Kaunas rather than exercise his opt-out, according to Donatas Urbonas (Twitter link).
  • The NBA has terminated its relationship with a basketball academy located in the Xinjiang region of China, according to a letter sent by the league to a U.S. senator, obtained by Ross Dellenger of SI.com. “The NBA has had no involvement with the Xinjiang basketball academy for more than a year, and the relationship has been terminated,” deputy commissioner Mark Tatum wrote to Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn. The Xinjiang region, where Chinese authorities are holding approximately one million Muslims in “re-education” camps, is “known as one of the world’s worst humanitarian zones,” Dellenger writes.
  • A handful of NBA players are taking part in a basketball tournament in Paris this week, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post, who reports that Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina, Pistons forward Sekou Doumbouya, and Bulls two-way player Adam Mokoka are participating in the event.

Nets Will Replace Michael Beasley

Nets forward Michael Beasley will become the summer’s first substitute player who requires a substitute player of his own, as Shams Charania reports (via Twitter) that Beasley won’t be joining the team after all.

Beasley signed with Brooklyn a week ago, but tested positive for COVID-19 upon arriving to the Walt Disney World campus and didn’t clear quarantine. As a result, the Nets have decided to sign a substitute player to replace him. Although Charania doesn’t specify who that player will be, he notes that Justin Anderson “remains a signing candidate.”

Anderson reportedly reached a deal back in June to sign with the Nets and said during an appearance on the JWILLY Show (YouTube link) on Monday that he was quarantining in an Orlando-area hotel in preparation.

It’s a tough break for Beasley, who had been out of the NBA since February of 2019 and likely would have had a chance to earn some playing time this summer for the Nets, who are missing a total of seven players from their original squad.

Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Nicolas Claxton are sidelined with injuries, Wilson Chandler voluntarily opted out, and DeAndre Jordan, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Taurean Prince have been ruled out following positive coronavirus tests. Beasley becomes the eighth Nets player who won’t participate in the restart.

Brooklyn has been able to sign substitute players to replace its non-injured players, bringing aboard Jamal Crawford, Lance Thomas, and Donta Hall along with Beasley. The former No. 2 overall pick will now be replaced by a fifth substitute player, presumably Anderson.

Michael Beasley Tests Positive For COVID-19, Leaves Campus

New Nets forward Michael Beasley has tested positive for the coronavirus and returned home, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Malika Andrews and Tim Bontemps of ESPN first reported that Beasley had left the NBA’s Walt Disney World campus.

Beasley, who signed with the Nets last Thursday, arrived at Disney shortly after the rest of the team got there last week. As Andrews and Bontemps note, GM Sean Marks told reporters that Beasley would require negative coronavirus tests for six days before he’d receive the go-ahead to join Brooklyn for practices. Presumably, the veteran forward didn’t clear quarantine before testing positive. Now his roster status is up in the air, per Charania.

No NBA team has a more decimated roster right now than the Nets, who are missing a total of seven players from their original squad. Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Nicolas Claxton are sidelined with injuries, Wilson Chandler voluntarily opted out, and DeAndre Jordan, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Taurean Prince have been ruled out following positive coronavirus tests.

Brooklyn has been able to sign substitute players to replace those four non-injured players, bringing aboard Jamal Crawford, Lance Thomas, Donta Hall, and Beasley. Now, however, the Nets may be the first club whose substitute player requires a substitute of his own.

Players who contract COVID-19 don’t have to be replaced, but Beasley had already been out of the NBA for over a year and now won’t be able to participate in the season’s ramp-up period before seeding games begin.

As such, it would make sense for Brooklyn to replace him, and Justin Anderson looks like the logical candidate to do so — he reportedly reached a deal with the Nets back in June and said during an appearance on the JWILLY Show (YouTube link) on Monday that he’s quarantining in an Orlando-area hotel as he prepares to officially sign his contract.

New York Notes: Ball, Knicks, Woodson, Nets, Crawford

Multiple teams believe that LaMelo Ball and people in his circle view the Knicks as their preferred landing spot, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv. However, since Ball is considered a lock to be a top-five pick and a candidate to come off the board first overall in the 2020 NBA draft, it’s possible New York won’t get an opportunity to select him.

Because the lottery odds for the league’s bottom eight teams are already locked in, we know the Knicks have a 9% chance to land the No. 1 overall pick and a 37.2% chance at a top-four pick. The more likely outcome would see the team draft seventh or eighth overall, in which case Ball would presumably out of reach unless New York is willing to trade up.

Here’s more on the NBA’s two New York teams:

  • Mike Woodson‘s previously-reported interview with the Knicks for their head coaching job is taking place on Friday, sources tell Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News (Twitter link). The team continues to work its way through meetings with 11 candidates and intends to name a permanent head coach before the end of the month.
  • After not finding an NBA home all season, new Nets guard Jamal Crawford tells Brandon Robinson of Heavy.com that his deal with Brooklyn came together “really fast.” Crawford added that he’s ready to play whatever role the team expects of him. “Whatever they want me to do, I’ll do,” the 40-year-old said.
  • Brian Lewis of The New York Post examines the Nets‘ signings of Crawford and Michael Beasley, noting that both players could be candidates to re-sign with the team for 2020/21 — especially if Brooklyn consolidates some assets and trades for a third star, opening up a few extra roster spots. “We’re always going to be evaluating players, how they fit not only with the group we have now but the group that’s expected to be part of this team next year and the year after that,” GM Sean Marks said.

Atlantic Notes: T. Johnson, Beasley, Knicks, Raptors

The Nets, already missing seven players from their 15-man roster this summer, are also currently without guard Tyler Johnson, who was signed by the club during the transaction window at the end of June.

Nets general manager Sean Marks said today that Johnson hasn’t accompanied the team to the Walt Disney World campus for personal reasons, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post (Twitter link). However, Marks added that Johnson will join the club in a few days.

When Johnson reports to the NBA’s campus in Orlando, he’ll have to go through a six-day quarantine period, testing negative multiple times for the coronavirus before he’ll be permitted to practice, Lewis adds in a separate tweet. That longer quarantine period applies to any player who arrives after his team has already traveled to Disney and gone through its own initial 36-hour quarantine period.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • New Nets forward Michael Beasley, who will also have to quarantine for six days, is already in the team’s Florida hotel, tweets Lewis. Marks confirmed today that Beasley will have to sit out Brooklyn’s first five games due to his drug suspension from 2019, which he has yet to serve (Twitter link via Lewis). The forward will be eligible to make his Nets debut on August 9 vs. the Clippers, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes (via Twitter).
  • The Knickspreviously-reported head coaching interviews with Tom Thibodeau and Bulls assistant Chris Fleming took place on Thursday, according to reports from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter links). Thibodeau and Fleming are two of 11 candidates for the position, as our tracker shows.
  • Raptors rookie Dewan Hernandez, who had been sidelined since December due to a severe ankle sprain, is with the team in Orlando and will be healthy enough to play this summer, tweets Austin Kent of SLAM. Hernandez is unlikely to play meaningful minutes, but will provide added frontcourt depth.

Nets Sign Michael Beasley As Substitute Player

JULY 9: The Nets have officially signed Beasley, the team announced today in a press release.

JULY 8: The Nets and free agent forward Michael Beasley are moving toward a contract agreement, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The second overall pick in the 2008 draft, Beasley hasn’t played in the NBA this season, having last suited up for the Lakers during the 2018/19 campaign. He averaged 7.0 PPG and 2.3 RPG in 26 games (10.7 MPG) for the Lakers before being traded to the Clippers at the ’19 deadline. The Clips subsequently waived him.

Beasley, who averaged 19.2 PPG for the Timberwolves back in 2010/11, has always been an effective scorer, but isn’t a particularly strong play-maker or defender. Still, the 31-year-old’s ability to put the ball in the basket could benefit the depleted Nets.

As a result of injuries, opt-outs, and positive coronavirus tests, Brooklyn will be missing Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie, DeAndre Jordan, Taurean Prince, Wilson Chandler, and Nicolas Claxton when play resumes this summer.

Dinwiddie, Jordan, Prince, and Chandler are eligible to be replaced by substitute players, and Brooklyn has already reached agreements with Justin Anderson and Jamal Crawford. Assuming they strike a deal with Beasley too, the Nets would still be able to sign one more substitute player — they’re said to be eyeing a frontcourt piece, perhaps Amir Johnson or Lance Thomas.

Beasley – who has a strong relationship with Durant, according to Charania (Twitter link) – would sign a minimum-salary, rest-of-season contract with Brooklyn if the two sides finalize an agreement. It wouldn’t count against the club’s cap and the Nets wouldn’t have any form of Bird rights on Beasley at season’s end.

As ESPN’s Bobby Marks points out (via Twitter), Beasley was hit with a five-game suspension in August 2019 for violating the NBA’s anti-drug policy. He has yet to serve that ban and would have to do so if he signs with Brooklyn. Still, the club would have him available for its final three seeding games, plus up to two play-in tournament contests and the entire postseason, assuming the Nets make it.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Nets Notes: LeVert, Crawford, Beasley, Chiozza

The absence of so many key players means Caris LeVert will have to take on a larger role for the Nets in Orlando, writes Greg Joyce of The New York Post. The 25-year-old guard has always been a reliable scorer, but he will need to serve as a play-maker and team leader with Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Spencer Dinwiddie, Taurean Prince, DeAndre Jordan, Wilson Chandler and Nicolas Claxton all unavailable.

“I think for me it’s just taking on that challenge of being a leader, being the leader of that group,” LeVert said. “Going down there with some of the most experience on the team, playoff experience. I feel like I relish these types of opportunities and situations. Everything aside, I’m looking forward to going down there and seeing what we can do.”

The restart will give LeVert a chance to prove he can be a third star in Brooklyn and show management it doesn’t have to pursue someone else to team with Irving and Durant. A strong performance could also raise his trade value if the Nets decide to go that route. He agreed to a three-year, $52.5MM extension last summer.

“I feel good right now,” said LeVert, who missed 24 games earlier this season after thumb surgery. “I haven’t played in games since March so that’s the question I really don’t know. I feel good in my workouts though. And if I didn’t, I honestly wouldn’t be going down there to play. So I’m looking forward to getting out there.”

There’s more on the Nets:

  • Adding Jamal Crawford and Michael Beasley shows that Brooklyn intends to be competitive in Orlando despite its depleted roster, observes Alex Schiffer of The Athletic. Schiffer looks at what the veteran duo can provide the Nets along with scoring punch.
  • Even with the additions, Brooklyn will need increased contributions from players such as Chris Chiozza and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, according to a NetsDaily article. Both could be competing for a chance to be on the roster next season. “I feel like it’s a big opportunity for me,” Chiozza said recently. “It’s something I’m looking forward to. I hope Spencer feels better, but if not, I’ll be ready to take on those extra minutes.”
  • The Nets’ misfortune could wind up costing the Timberwolves a first-round pick this fall, writes Michael Rand of The Star-Tribune. Minnesota will receive Brooklyn’s first-rounder as long as the Nets reach the playoffs, which no longer seems certain with the number of players sitting out.

John Wall Played Pick-Up With Amar’e Stoudemire, Others During NBAGL Assignment

It has been 14 months since Wizards point guard John Wall ruptured his Achilles and the point guard was progressing nicely before the NBA suspended its season. Wall had been practicing with the Capital City Go-Go – Washington’s G League team – leading up to the hiatus, Fred Katz of The Athletic passes along in detailed piece.

“It just gets harder as you go along to collect guys off the street,” GM Tommy Sheppard said. “You want a highly competitive deal, so we sort of decided with John, it was time to play with the Go-Go (and) practice. And when we can, we’d have a scrimmage for him. It’s just been wonderful. It validates our process we have in place, to be able to utilize the Go-Go for so many functions to help the Wizards. And for them, I think those kids were freakin’ thrilled to play with John.”

The Wizards have been careful with the former All-Star’s recovery. There was never an expectation that he would play this season and even if the league resumes this summer, he won’t see the court.

Wall was scrimmaging every three days or so prior to the NBA suspending its season. He started going through controlled scrimmages with the team’s player development staff, Katz writes. He also participated in casual pick-up games with some former NBA players like Amar’e Stoudemire, Michael Beasley, and Jeremy Tyler.

The G League team would hold scrimmages roughly twice a week and Wall would get in 20-to-25 minutes of action in those contests.

Wall has publicly stated that he wanted to be a player development coach or a GM after he hangs up his jersey. He’s already begun that kind of work, helping the Wizards’ young guys improve on the court.

“He’s been an extra coach for me,” teammate Admiral Schofield said. “And it’s great hearing it from John Wall, a player you’ve grown up watching and playing against. Just feedback and little things and hearing him get excited when you make shots and him being confident in you knocking down shots is great.”

Pistons Sign Joe Johnson

SEPTEMBER 19: The Pistons have officially signed Johnson, the team announced today in a press release.

SEPTEMBER 12Joe Johnson and the Pistons have reached an agreement a contract, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. League sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link) that it’s a partially guaranteed one-year deal.

Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link) first reported that the two sides were on the verge of an agreement. A report earlier this week indicated that Detroit was the frontrunner for the free agent forward.

Johnson, 38, has appeared in nearly 1,400 career NBA games, counting the postseason, but didn’t play in the league in 2018/19 after finishing the ’17/18 campaign in Houston. The 17-year NBA veteran showed he still had something left in the tank during his run in Ice Cube‘s BIG3 league this summer, earning MVP honors and leading his 3-on-3 team to a championship.

Following his stint in the BIG3, Johnson drew interest from a handful of NBA teams, reportedly lining up workouts with the Sixers, Bucks, and Nets in addition to the Pistons. However, Detroit emerged as the apparent favorite in part due to Johnson’s connection to Pistons vice chairman Arn Tellem, a former agent who used to represent Iso Joe.

Assuming Johnson finalizes a deal with the Pistons, he may have to compete with Christian Wood for the team’s final regular season roster spot. Michael Beasley was also expected to vie for that spot, but Goodman suggests the former No. 2 overall pick will be released to open up room on the 20-man offseason roster for Johnson.

Technically, it doesn’t appear that Beasley actually signed with the Pistons after agreeing to terms on a non-guaranteed contract with the team last month. Now that he’s the odd man out, his deal will likely just never be completed.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Michael Beasley Ineligible To Sign With Chinese Team

SEPTEMBER 18: The Chinese Basketball Association has notified Shanxi that Beasley is ineligible to sign in China due to his NBA drug suspension, a source tells Carchia (Twitter link).

SEPTEMBER 17: The Shanxi Loongs are interested in bringing free agent forward Michael Beasley back to China, a source tells Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. According to Carchia, Shanxi would look to part ways with Malcolm Thomas if the club is able to sign Beasley.

This is the second time this offseason we’ve heard about Beasley drawing overseas interest. A report in early August suggested that the 30-year-old had an offer in the range of $5MM on the table from a team in the Chinese Basketball Association. It’s not clear if that team was Shanxi — or if Beasley would still be able to land a payday in that range.

Rather than accepting that reported offer, Beasley reached a tentative agreement to sign with the Pistons in mid-August. However, he never technically finalized that deal. With Detroit now poised to bring in Joe Johnson to fill the final spot on its offseason roster, the former No. 2 overall pick is the odd man out and won’t sign with the club after all, forcing him to resume his search for a new home.

Beasley has had multiple stints in the CBA in the past, playing for Shanghai in 2014/15, Shandong in 2015/16, and Guangdong earlier in 2019. So if he does sign with Shanxi, he’d be returning to a familiar setting.

It’s worth noting that Shams Charania of The Athletic reported last month that the CBA was in the process of implementing a new guideline that would bar a player facing a drug- or violence-related ban or suspension in another league from signing with a CBA team.

Charania cited Tyreke Evans, who has been banned from the NBA for at least two years due to drug violations, as a player who would affected by this rule, but it’s not clear if Beasley – who is facing a five-game NBA suspension for violating the league’s anti-drug policy – would also be impacted. Presumably, if Shanxi is interested, the rule either hasn’t been made official or wouldn’t specifically apply to a short-term suspension like Beasley’s.