Free agent profile: Michael Beasley
This is the second in a series of profiles focusing on this year’s free-agent class.
Michael Beasley, small forward
Most recent team: Minnesota Timberwolves
Type of free agent: Restricted
Positives: Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak suggested in an interview last week that the team’s most immediate needs involve adding a power forward and a small forward. It’s not hard to read between the lines that Kupchak could be anticipating trading Pau Gasol while letting power forward Troy Murphy and small forward Matt Barnes walk. Either way, Beasley would provide a good fit playing at backup power forward or small forward, two positions at which the Lakers sorely lacked consistency last season.
The Lakers tried pursuing him before the trade deadline, but Minnesota owner Glen Taylor nixed the deal. Beasley would’ve come in handy during Metta World Peace’s seven-game suspension, likely providing more scoring punch than Barnes and Devin Ebanks offered.
Negatives: Beasley’s 11.5 points per game average with Minnesota marked his worst performance in his four-year career, and he hasn’t taken too many steps in developing as a player. His effort level comes in spurts. He rarely looks to pass. His defense remains questionable at best. Yes, he may provide secondary scoring, but that might not make up for all the lapses he commits on the other end.
Verdict: Inconsistencies aside, Beasley offers something the Lakers lack on the bench. Plus, with Kobe Bryant at the helm, it’s likely he’ll keep his attitude in check.
As far as Beasley’s free-agency prospects go, it’s safe to presume that the Timberwolves don’t have much need for him, considering rookie forward Derrick Williams took most of his playing time. But it remains to be seen whether Timberwolves officials would be inclined to match an offer just so they use him as a trade chip. There’s no need to get in a bidding war over Beasley.
Considering his recent performance, it’s possible that his market value would fall below the $6.9 million he made last season. Perhaps the Lakers could pick him up with a mini-midlevel ($3 million) contract or as part of a larger trade package.
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