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Poor Michael Beasley. Sure, the man has his faults and herbal demons, but he’s also had his share of bad luck. And no, being pulled over last year with 16 grams of marijuana isn’t bad luck- it’s bad planning.
But still, having had the chance to watch Beasley under a microscope while he played in Miami with those pre-LeBron Heat teams (yes, there was a team in Miami before “The Decision,” believe it or not), one thing was clear- the man was as naturally talented as they come. He has magnificent, ambidextrous hands, a silky median-range jump shot, a surprisingly quick first step – basically all the physical tools a forward needs.
The problem was, on a Heat team that takes pride on defense and professionalism, Beasley was as out of place as Will Smith in his first few years with the Banks family. “Goofy” and “laid-back” are two words that fairly described Beasley. They’d also never be used in the same sentence as “Heat culture.” Beasley’s lack of defensive awareness and maturity combined with the fact that he played the same position as team captain Udonis Haslem, meant he never hit his stride in Miami. After being dealt in 2010 in what amounted to a salary dump, he found himself in the basketball wilderness known as Minnesota, forced to change position without a competent point guard in sight. Still, last year he was their second leading scorer (19 ppg) and played well.
Unfortunately for Beasley, there’s a new coach in town and Adelman doesn’t appear to be sold on him. Combine that with Minnesota drafting Derrick Williams, another guy who shares his position, and it appears as though Beasley’s time in Minnesota may be coming to an end. With that in mind, let’s look at few trades that make sense for Minnesota, while also not being entirely unkind to Mr. Beasley.
Boston trades Ray Allen for Michael Beasley and Brad Miller:
Minnesota needs a two guard that can spread the floor, preferably one who could also provide some much-needed veteran leadership. Currently, the underwhelming combo of Wesley Johnson and Wayne Elington are filling most of the shooting guard minutes. So far this year, neither is close to averaging double figures. Actually, they aren’t even averaging 10 points per game combined. With JJ Barea moving over to play the two at times, the need to upgrade the position is fairly apparent. Boston, meanwhile, is falling fast. When Jason Terry is saying that Rondo is the only Celtic player that can compete athletically with Dallas, yes Dallas, there’s a problem.
This team is clearly no longer a contender and, quite frankly, will be lucky to get past the second round this year. It might be time to shake things up with a deal that doesn’t involve Rondo. I shouldn’t have had to write that last line. Blame Danny Ainge. If Garnett can’t help Beasley reach his potential, no one can. Should Boston find a way to keep Jeff Green, they could rebuild with Beasley, Green and Rondo and make the rapidly approaching post-Big Three era less reminiscent of the mid-‘90s. Plus, in the short term, Boston gets a competent, or at the very least hard-fouling, big man in Brad Miller.
Orlando trades JJ Redick and a 2012 second round pick to Minnesota for Michael Beasley:
While the overall talent disparity in the trade is impossible to miss, the same could be said for maturity. Minnesota has lots of potential and now an experienced coach at the helm, but it lacks veteran leadership. Brad Miller (35), Luke Ridnour (30) and JJ FUCKING BAREA (27) are the team’s three oldest players! Redick’s experience on winning teams would be a welcomed addition to the locker room, and at only 27 years old himself, could be part of the rotation for a while. Though he isn’t going to light up the other team for 30 points very often (ever), Redick consistently stretches the defense with his three-point shooting ability (.392 for his career), and has increased his production steadily since entering the league (from 6 points per game in his rookie year to 10 last year and 11.6 so far this year).
For Orlando, the move is a no-brainer. Though they are stuck paying Turkoglu for the next three years, even Otis Smith might eventually realize they don’t have to play him that whole time. As former teammate Dwayne Wade said of the former second overall pick, “He can erupt any game, any moment,” not exactly something that could be said of Hedo these days. Regardless of what happens with the elephant in the room (Howard’s publically stated trade request) the trade makes sense for the Magic. He either helps sway Dwight to resign in Orlando, or he serves as a much more potent building block than Redick in the post-Superman era.
Philadelphia trades Andre Iguodala and Tony Battie for Michael Beasley, Wesley Johnson and Anthony Tolliver:
Remember when all those players came back from the 2010 world championships vastly improved players? Well Iggy was in that group, and he has become a menace defensively while continuing to contribute fairly efficiently on the offensive end, despite seeing his numbers dip in the last two years. Iguodala is not a three-point specialist by any means (32.6 % for his career), but he is more than capable of knocking down the corner trey, having made more than 300 three pointers over the last four years. His leadership would undoubtedly go a long way, and the move could help convince Love that the front office is capable of doing more than assembling a fantasy team.
This trade would require Kahn to effectively admit that taking Wesley Johnson 4th in the 2010 draft was a horrible decision, but I’m pretty sure most of us know it already. Look for yourself, I’d take anyone not nicknamed “the babyface killer” between 5-10 in that same draft. For what it’s worth, the 76ers are still sticking to the claim that Iguodala isn’t going anywhere (a claim reinforced by their current position atop the Eastern Conference standings), and if they keep up their current win percentage (70) it would be hard to argue otherwise.
If, however, it is clear that the team is not competing for a championship this year, then they should be focused on developing the younger talent. In other words, as good as Iguodala is, he is hindering the development of Evan Turner and co. While Brand’s monster contract appears untradeable, Iggy obviously still has a fair amount of value. Why not flip him for additional young assets to develop along with the core already in place? Beasley could become their best player within months. Plus, if things go wrong, he can be turned into cap space quickly and painlessly. Despite his flaws, Johnson should go on to be a solid role player in the league.
Fast forward to 2013. You’re telling me you don’t like a lineup of Jrue Holiday – Evan Turner – Michael Beasley – Elton Brand – Spencer Hawes with Louis Williams, Wesley Johnson, Thaddeus Young coming off the bench?
NJ Nets trade Anthony Morrow and a future second round pick for Michael Beasley:
Sure, the 26-year-old Morrow might be a matador defender, but the Wolves aren’t exactly giving up a shutdown defender for him. As far as pure shooters go, Morrow should rank near the top of most lists. The former Golden State Warrior is a 44-percent three-point shooter for his career and near 90-percent from the line. He might be something of a one-trick pony, but he does that one thing incredibly well. Put him next to Rubio and two forwards (Love and Williams) who also shoot well from distance and all of a sudden the floor becomes a lot wider and Rubio has far more space to operate.
Meanwhile, the Nets take a gamble with Beasley (why not?) and at the very least give Deron Williams a teammate that can catch a damn lob. Giving Beasley an all-star point guard (albeit a disgruntled one) would help his game immensely and allow him to fulfill his fate as the leading scorer of perpetual lottery teams. Plus, Beasley has a team option for next year, meaning the team could potentially have even more cap space this summer for its next failed run at marquee free agents.