With a one-year, $3.5 million, Michael Beasley joins the Los Angeles Lakers, re-teaming with LeBron James and making it his 7th stop in his NBA career, which began a decade ago and never lived up to the expectations created from his sensational fresham season in Manhattan playing for Kansas State.
Beasley isn’t complaining. It wouldn’t have been surprising, considering some of the turns and twists of his NBA career, for him to be out of the league by now. He had a two successful stints in China, but even when he didn’t find a team to start an NBA season with, he’d always get a job late in the season.
Beasley getting cut by the Suns in 2013 was the final straw in an early career that was building towards a bust up. “Locker room cancer” was the term being thrown around, although since then, playing for the Miami Heat (including the NBA finals), Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks, problems of the past didn’t really surface again.
Beasley, for all of his flaws, does one thing really well. He scores. His per 36 minutes numbers are at 21.5 points per game over the last 3 seasons, and with 22.3 minutes a night last season on a struggling Knicks team (the most playing time he’s had since 2011-2012, the season everything started falling apart for him), he averaged 13.2 points on 50.7% shooting. At the very least, this warrants more time in the NBA, not another summer of wondering why no one wants him.
Beasley isn’t a surprising player. He scored, he doesn’t play very much defense, he rebounds well. In short – for a bench guy on a playoff-hopeful team, it’s passable. In a league with more and more emphasis on second units doing more than just breathing life and energy into the game, it’s an issue, but the Lakers, surrounding James with an eclectic collection of players, think he’s a piece worth adding.
Beasley? He gets another chance to prove he deserves another chance next year. Who knows, maybe this time he’ll do well enough to earn himself a rare, multiyear deal, and an ever rarer stay on the same team for another season. Obviously, the Lakers are going to be getting a lot of attention next season – the most they’ve had since Kobe Bryant roamed the Staples Center parquet. It’ll be a chance to see Beasley playing a (hopefully) key part on a winning team for a change.