Despite having less star power than before, the Miami Heat will be very interesting to watch next season which probably won’t include Greg Oden or Michael Beasley, who both probably haven’t been good or convincing enough to earn themselves another contract from the NBA finalists.
For Oden, it isn’t just an issue of ability. He really didn’t play all that much last season, but his legal problems (charged with allegedly punching his ex-girlfriend in the face) are just another issue with a player that has been more injured than healthy since he was the number one overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft. He played only 23 games for the Heat last season and logged in a total of 7 minutes in three playoff games.
The Heat are looking for another big man to add, and Oden doesn’t seem to be on the list. Emeka Okafor, another big man coming off an injury, Ekpe Udoh, Andray Blatche and Jason Maxiell seem a lot more likely to get a contract or at least a shot at one than Oden, with the Heat, at this moment. It might also mean that there isn’t a lot left for him to look for in the NBA, as the Heat were supposed to be the springboard for him renewing his career.
Michael Beasley is a different case. The Heat have small forwards but there’s always room for scoring talent. The problem in this case? Beasley isn’t a great defender, and generally Erik Spoelstra doesn’t like him or appreciate his abilities very much. Beasley wasn’t involved in anything problematic last season, but his rotation status kept being messed with and played a total of 23 minutes in the postseason after averaging 7.9 points in only 15 minutes of basketball during the regular season.
Teams are afraid of reputations, even if Beasley is past the point of being a troublemaker. Stigmas stick in this league, and so far he hasn’t been getting offers that you’d expect for someone with his talent. A second overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft, Beasley has always scored well on any team he’s been, regardless of the other problems he might have been involved in or created himself.
It’s hard to believe a player who is just 25 and is obviously a very capable scorer, whether it’s in the lineup or in a smaller role, isn’t getting any love from anyone around the league, but if this drought of offers in his direction keeps coming, maybe playing in Europe, where it’ll be much easier for him to get a big contract and playing time, is the next step. Beasley isn’t going to get more than a veteran’s minimum in the NBA from anyone.