Phoenix Suns: Any Takers On Michael Beasley?

Michael Beasley. The draft bust who got busted. The promising young talent who once outperformed Derrick Rose in the NBA Summer League. The guy who’s been compared to cancer and who I’ve compared to a TV show about cancer. Mercifully, Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough decided to waive him Tuesday and the Michael Beasley era is officially at an end. But is there any team in the NBA that would actually think about adding Beasley to their roster now?

Before we answer that question, we need to examine just how dangerous it is to even think about signing Michael Beasley. This is the guy who prompted laughs from Miami Heat and Minnesota Timberwolves fans when they saw glass-half-full Suns tweets saying that Beasley could work out in Phoenix. This is the guy who said, “I realize 10 minutes of feeling good is not really worth putting my life and my career and my legacy in jeopardy,” and then got arrested for marijuana possession a year later. This is the guy who prompted the Suns to trade a two-time All-Star just so they could get rid of him.

Beasley’s decision-making isn’t just questionable when it comes to marijuana, as evidenced by his decision to take a $7 million buyout now instead of waiting a few years for his full $9 million. But if you’re still not convinced, just check out what Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby had to say in a press release about the decision: “The Suns were devoted to Michael Beasley’s success in Phoenix. However, it is essential that we demand the highest standards of personal and professional conduct as we develop a championship culture.”

It gets better. McDonough had this to add: “We have high standards for all our players. We expect them to represent the team and the community in a positive manner both on and off the court.”

First of all, as a Suns fan, it’s great to hear management not only talk about a “championship culture,” but also to hear Babby admit that Michael Beasley does not belong in that culture. But the most telling aspect of all of this is that the Suns are talking about waiving Beasley because he’s a knucklehead. Notice how the emphasis is on his off-the-court actions? It could easily be about his inadequacies as a player, but Babby and McDonough are talking about his actions as a person! If you’re that much of a head case that your team waives you for your off-court troubles as much as your basketball struggles, you know you’re in a bad place. Beasley’s not a bad person. He’s just made a collection of bad decisions that make his on-the-court laziness stand out even more.

So yes, if your team is thinking about signing Beasley now that he’s available, they probably shouldn’t be. The NBA has gotten smarter as a whole and after what I’ve seen this past season, a team would have to be crazy to sign him. Nevertheless, some poor schmuck GM out there will add him out of desperation, believing he can change this bad boy. So since you’re probably curious/terrified about who in their right minds would give Beasley another chance, here’s a quick look at the list of teams that Suns fans could be laughing at on Twitter next week:

Los Angeles Lakers – I wouldn’t wish a lot of things on my worst enemy, but unfortunately for the Lakers, Michael Beasley is not one of those things. The Lakers are in desperate need of talent or anything that closely resembles it this year with a post-injury Kobe Bryant, an aging Steve Nash and a possibly-past-his-prime Pau Gasol. They’ve already added the Nick Young-Chris Kaman-Wesley Johnson pu-pu platter, why not go the extra mile and add Beasley too? Don’t forget Lakers fans, your organization was already thinking about signing him last season.

San Antonio Spurs – Hear me out on this one. I absolutely agree with you that Gregg Popovich and the Spurs are too smart to sign a player like Beasley. They’ve seen the negative impact he’s had on teams and the only way Pop doesn’t know about Beasley’s bad reputation is if he doesn’t even know who Michael Beasley is. But so many times we’ve heard that Beasley could thrive if he were in the right environment, with the right teammates, with the right coach, with the right role. If there’s anywhere in the NBA that fits that description, it’s San Antonio. I’d love to put the basketball culture of the Spurs and the coaching prowess of Popovich to the ultimate test and see what happens.

At the very worst, the Spurs simply cut him if he starts lighting acting up. But in a best-case scenario, Pop is possibly the only coach that could develop Beasley into a useful bench player. You can’t tell me playing around Tim Duncan and Tony Parker wouldn’t help his understanding of unselfish, team basketball. The Spurs’ ball movement is among the best in the league and Beasley could learn so much there. But the best part about this fantasy scenario is if Beasley clashed with Pop or Duncan or Parker, he wouldn’t win. He wouldn’t bring the team down, he’d simply be asked to get the hell out. The only way this doesn’t work is if Beasley lights up a doobie on the bench and Pop keels over from a heart attack in the process. Come on, San Antonio. You know you want this. After all, it worked for awhile with Stephen Jackson.

Miami Heat – Is there a possible Miami Heat-Michael Beasley reunion in the works? Probably not, since the Heat are already stacked enough as it is with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Ray Allen and the Ghost of Greg Oden‘s Past. But with sharpshooter Mike Miller amnestied and very few other teams considering adding Beasley, isn’t it possible Miami makes another subtle offseason move to try and elevate its status as indisputable NBA alpha dog? The Heat’s volatile lineups would give Beasley a limited opportunity off the bench, which is a perfect role for him at this point. Plus, LeBron James could make me look like an NBA player if I played with him. Imagine what he could do with Beasley.

Indiana Pacers – I don’t see this one happening unless the Pacers are absolutely desperate for bench production heading into the playoffs. Indiana’s reserves are the biggest reason the Heat were able to advance in seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals and the Pacers have made strides to make sure a similar situation doesn’t occur this year. They’ve added Luis Scola and C.J. Watson and Danny Granger‘s return will not only bolster Indiana’s starting unit, but also the bench since Lance Stephenson will be relegated to backup duty again. But if things don’t work out and the Pacers need bench production, isn’t it possible they look to add Beasley late in the season just in case?

New York Knicks – Just to be clear, I’d hate to see this happen. It would totally be a Knicks thing to do if they signed Beasley. I’ve been one of the few people outside of New York rooting for Carmelo Anthony to succeed in the Big Apple and it’s bad enough that the Knicks couldn’t get him any support in the playoffs last season. They’ve already got an All-Star knucklehead team with J.R. Smith and Ron Artest. They’ve already got guys who used to be talented but are starting to fall off the map in Amar’e Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani and Tyson Chandler. Beasley fits both those categories and the Knicks know they need to get Melo as much help as possible. After what we’ve seen happen to the Knickerbockers over the last 15 years, there’s definitely a chance they make 2013 one of their all-time boneheaded offseasons.

There’s a common trend here: every one of these teams thinks it’s a contender. The Heat, Pacers, Spurs and Knicks actually are contenders, but the Lakers have such a long and storied history of basketball success that every year they believe they will make the playoffs and contend for a title. With a healthy Kobe and Pau Gasol, most Lakers fans will believe it too. But whatever the case, the only teams that would consider signing Beasley are teams with reputable coaches that don’t need him, but could use him on their own terms (which is why the Lakers/Knicks adding Beasley would be hysterically bad).

But what about the other contenders? The most obvious omission is the Oklahoma City Thunder. I just wrote about how the Thunder’s title window could be closing if GM Sam Presti doesn’t start adding better pieces to back up Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. But Beasley isn’t that piece. And since OKC’s offseason plan has pretty much been “just keep trudging along, wait for Westbrook to get healthy and hope our dynamic duo carries us to the promised land,” it seems unlikely they’d sign a notorious knucklehead like Beasley.

As for the Chicago Bulls, a team with a stacked lineup that could use another bench scorer, tensions are already high between management and coach Tom Thibodeau after they fired one of his favorite assistant coaches. I don’t think management would risk pissing off Thibs to that extent, even if it would be entertaining to see him yelling at Beasley for letting his man blow by him for the millionth time. Plus, Beasley just doesn’t fit that tough-minded, gritty defense, togetherness culture Chicago has. As for the Los Angeles Clippers, they already have the deepest bench in the NBA. The Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies, Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors also seem to be satisfied with their current rosters. Signing Beasley would be pointless since he’d never play and since there’s always a slight risk in adding a PR nightmare.

Either way, it’ll be interesting to see if anyone gives Beasley a chance to avoid playing overseas. It’s just nice to see the Phoenix Suns not be one of the teams I’m worried about in the offseason.

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Tags: Beasley Takes Buyout With Suns Caron Butler Trade Michael Beasley Arrested Michael Beasley Marijuana Bust Michael Beasley NBA Bust Phoenix Suns Waive Michael Beasley Teams Interested In Michael Beasley

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