Remember the Michael Beasley at Kansas State? He killed people from the post. He was an amazing finisher at the rim, with either hand. He could face up and blow by anyone. He worked hard off the ball. He was so fluid. He had 13 30 point, 10 rebound games. He looked like a man among boys at Kansas State.
When he got with the men in the NBA, he looked different. Small, and bothered by the long arms and challenged shots at the next level. He was chased out of the post, last season taking more shots from 16 feet on out than he did at the rim (and not hitting them, he shot 39 percent on long twos and 27.5 percent from three). Then there was spending last summer in league-imposed substance-abuse treatment. He has not been terrible, but he has been pretty average on the court. Which is not what is expected out of the number two pick overall.
How far has he fallen? He was offered to the New Jersey Nets for Keyon Dooling, and the Nets said no. That came up on ESPN’s daily NBA podcast Wednesday.
Our own Ira Winderman said in the South Florida Sun Sentinel the reason is it is all about the money.
While Keyon is due $3.6 million next season, his contract can be bought out for $500,000 by June 29. So, in essence, the Heat can launder Beasley’s contract through a Dooling trade, release Dooling, and then benefit by the extra cap space. I would not be surprised if the Heat made such an offer. That said, I made a bunch of calls after ESPN mentioned the possibility on one of its podcasts and came to the realization that the Nets simply have no interest in Beasley and would rather maximize their own cap space. I requested comment from the Heat and got the expected no comment. Still, it would not surprise me at all if the Heat, at this stage, was willing to deal Michael for mere cap space. The greater question is whether there is anyone out there willing to take on Michael and his off-court baggage, especially another space team.
This fall is just a little reminder of how precarious any draft pick, even ones that seem the sure thing, can be.