Only two years after Michael Beasley was drafted with the 2nd overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Miami Heat had trouble giving him away. Eventually, the Heat managed to unload Beasley on the Minnesota Timberwolves, but they only got two second-round picks in exchange for the former Kansas State star.
Why has Beasley been such a flop over his first two pro seasons? Is it because he’s a tweener, stuck between the three and the four? Is it because he’s never shown any particular interest in playing defense? Is it because he’s never extended his range to the NBA three-point line or committed himself to being a low-post player?
All of those are possible reasons why Beasley hasn’t lived up to his billing as a top-two pick yet. But for what it’s worth, Beasley’s new general manager thinks that the first step to Beasley’s turnaround has already been taken.
In an interview with ESPN 1500 Twin Cities, David Kahn explained that Beasley’s marijuana habit held him back in the early stage of his career. Beasley never formally admitted to smoking weed, but there was widespread speculation about his drug use after he was caught on film near marijuana not once but twice
before he started his sophomore season. Now Beasley has assured Kahn that he doesn’t smoke anymore, which makes Kahn optimistic about Beasley’s future:
“He’s a very young and immature kid who smoked too much marijuana and has told me that he’s not smoking anymore, and I told him that I would trust him as long as that was the case,” Kahn said Thursday during an interview with 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
“He has developed a really good support system around him this past season in Miami. He’s hired people to help him grow up. He is growing up — he’s not grown up. He’s 21 … and he just turned 21 last January, and if you think back, as I do all the time, to when I was 21 and if you had given me this kind of money and put me in this kind of world with these kinds of pressures attached to it and some of the demands, I don’t know (that) I would have handled it any easier than, say, he has.”
Kahn went on to say that Beasley had a “very issue-free” season in Miami, and that he felt that trading Beasley for two second-round draft picks was a risk well worth taking. Beasley’s immaturity certainly didn’t help him over the course of his first two years in the league; if he really has turned a new leaf off the court, perhaps he’ll start to live up to his potential on it.
The National Basketball Players Association has talked for more than a year about covering medical expenses for retired players.
Today, the union announced a formal plan.
The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) announced today that its player representatives have voted unanimously to fund health insurance for all retired NBA players with at least three years of service in the league. This program is the first of its kind among North American professional sports. It also exemplifies the NBPA’s focus on the health and welfare of its current, retired and future members.
“The game has never before been more popular, and all the players in our league today recognize that we’re only in this position because of the hard work and dedication of the men who came before us,” said Chris Paul, NBPA President and nine-time All-Star. “It’s important that we take care of our entire extended NBA family, and I’m proud of my fellow players for taking this unprecedented step to ensure the health and well-being of our predecessors.”
The unanimous vote – which took place during the NBPA Summer Meeting in New York on June 26 – established a multi-faceted health insurance program through UnitedHealthcare, the country’s leading health benefits provider. The current proposal includes:
Retired players with between three and six years of NBA service time but who are not yet eligible for Medicare would be offered a plan that includes medical, hospital and prescription drug coverage with modest out-of-pocket costs for deductibles and co-pays;
Those with between seven and nine years of service would be offered the same coverage with even lower out-of-pocket costs;
Retired players with at least 10 years of service would be offered the same coverage as the seven-to-nine year players, and would include coverage for their entire family;
Retired players with three-nine years of service who are eligible for Medicare would be offered a $0 deductible and $0 co-pay plan along with a low-cost prescription drug plan; those with 10+ years of service to receive this coverage for themselves and their spouse.
The open enrollment period for retired players would begin this fall, with coverage beginning on January 1, 2017.
This is a good thing.
It also could become a bargaining point in Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations. Should current players face the entire burden of insuring retired players, or should owners split the cost? (The fact that the question is even being posed paints players in a positive light.)
But back to the bigger point: This is a good thing. It’ll help retired players who need it, retired players who helped position the current generation to afford this. Kudos to the union for stepping up.
Warriors center Anderson Varejao will miss the Rio Olympics due to a back injury.
Where will Team Brazil turn now?
Likely to Bulls center Cristiano Felicio.
Marc Stein of ESPN:
Felicio came on strong late last season. He puts his 6-foot-10, 275-pound frame to good use protecting the paint and rebounding. He showed potential as passer and mid-range shooter, too.
At age 24, he’s a candidate to break out in the Olympics.
If he’s not ready, Brazil can turn to a steady veteran at center, Nene.
Blake Griffin broke his hand punching Clippers equipment manager Matias Testi in January.
Make that former Clippers equipment manager Matias Testi.
The L.A. Clippers equipment staffer who was punched in the face by Blake Griffin during a fight in Toronto earlier this year is off the team — and will NOT be back for the ’16/’17 season … TMZ Sports has learned.
We spoke with a rep for the Clippers who confirmed Matias Testi “no longer works for the team.”
The report that Kevin Durant told Russell Westbrook he’d re-sign with the Thunder before choosing the Warriors?
Royce Young of ESPN:
I misspoke in saying that Durant specifically told Westbrook he was coming back.