Michael Beasley

Report: Heat won’t pick up Michael Beasley’s option for next season


No matter what, the Heat and Michael Beasley always seem to end up back together. They took him with the No. 2 overall pick in 2008 and traded him after two seasons, but can never bring themselves to fully give up on him. They brought him back for the 2013-14 season and then, last season, signed him in February.

Once again, they’re going their separate ways. At least for now. The Heat have told Beasley they won’t be picking up his option for next season, according to the Miami Herald‘s Barry Jackson:

Other than his repeated second chances with the Heat, Beasley seems to have washed out of the league entirely. He’s never been able to put the repeated maturity concerns fully in the past, and his on-court contributions have been inconsistent at best. Given the way the last couple of years have gone, there’s a chance the Heat will bring him back during the season, once 10-day contracts start in January.

Lon Babby stepping down as president of basketball operations with Suns


Lon Babby’s reign as president of basketball operations in Phoenix lasted five years, and the Suns haven’t made the playoffs since he joined the team in August of 2010.

His time with the club in that role is over, but not for that reason.

“The Phoenix Suns have announced today that President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby will be transitioning to the position of Senior Advisor as of August 1, 2015,” the team said via official release. “At that time Ryan McDonough will lead the Basketball Operations Department from his position as General Manager with continued support from Assistant General Managers Pat Connelly and Trevor Bukstein. All three individuals will take on increasing responsibilities within the organization and are signed to multiyear contracts.”

Babby didn’t do a lot during his time as president that could be considered a positive.

He oversaw the disastrous tenure of GM Lance Blanks, who made a series of questionable moves, but most notably signed Michael Beasley for three years and $18 million. Beasley was ultimately waived following a series of disappointments.

There was the curious way the whole Alvin Gentry firing played out midway through the 2013 season, and the equally strange decision to replace him with Lindsey Hunter on an interim basis.

Since then, the decisions have been more sound. Ryan McDonough was brought in as GM, who appeared to be well-qualified after learning under Danny Ainge in Boston for several seasons. The next coaching hire appeared to be a good one in Jeff Hornacek, who has done well in his first two seasons, all things considered. McDonough pulled off a deal to land Eric Bledsoe, and his presence was partly responsible for Phoenix going from 25 wins in 2013 to 48 wins the following season, while missing the playoffs by only a single game in the standings.

But the team took a step back with the moves that were made at the trade deadline, when both Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas were shipped out of town. The club had its reasons, but the current roster is a bit of a mess right now. With McDonough fully in control beginning in August, perhaps a true, singular plan can be properly put into place.

76ers out-tank the Heat, but Nets probably save Miami


The Miami Heat started a player they once pledged not to re-sign, their second-best Dragic, someone better known by his previous name, a former second-rounder who played in Australia last season and an undrafted rookie

And they still couldn’t lose.

In a high-stake game with the Heat’s top-10 protected first-round pick on the line, the 76ers dealt Miami a crucial win and dramatically increased the odds of the Heat’s pick going to Philadelphia. But the Nets beat the Magic, probably saving Miami from a huge roster-building letdown.

The Heat hold the No. 10 seed in the lottery and have just a 9.1 percent chance of falling and sending it to the Philadelphia (which got it in the Kevin Love-Andrew Wiggins trade from Cleveland, which got it from Miami in the 2010 LeBron James sign-and-trade). If Brooklyn lost, Miami would have had a 53.1 percent chance of losing the pick.

Still, the 76ers did all they could to tilt the odds in their favor by losing to the Heat tonight.

Actually with just 13 combined players – many of them scrubs, at that – playing, it might be inappropriate to say the Heat beat the 76ers.

Michael Beasley, Zoran Dragic, Henry Walker, James Ennis, Tyler Johnson and Udonis Haslem beat Jerami Grant, Henry Sims, JaKarr Sampson, Robert Covington, Glenn Robinson III, Hollis Thompson and Thomas Robinson.

Four of the Heat’s starters played all 48 minutes with Dragic (41 minutes) and Udonis Haslem (seven minutes) splitting the rest. This was a farce.

The 76ers’ two years of tanking experience paid off. They knew how to get the job done.

It just probably won’t be enough to get Miami’s pick.

That’s the loss that hurts.

Breaking down Eastern Conference playoff chase with nine days left in season


With just nine days left in the NBA season, the Eastern Conference playoff race still has a lot to shake out.

Not at the top, where the Hawks and Cavaliers are in. But the bottom of the conference races are fascinating.

No. 1 seed: The Atlanta Hawks have officially locked up the top spot. They have home court throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs.

No. 2 seed: The Cleveland Cavaliers’ win over the Chicago Bulls essentially locked the Cavs in there. Cleveland’s magic number is one to secure the two seed.

No. 3-5 seeds: As it has looked for a while, most likely ends up with the Chicago Bulls in the three seed, the Toronto Raptors fourth and the Washington Wizards fifth. The current three seed Bulls are one game ahead of Toronto, which is one game ahead of Washington. What could lead to movement is Toronto does not face another team over .500 the rest of the season. The Bulls schedule isn’t much tougher, but Toronto might get on a run and push Chicago for the three spot. Washington has a tougher schedule and is going to need some help to get past Toronto and get home court in the first round.

No. 6 seed: The Milwaukee Bucks are two games up on seven seed Brooklyn and likely finish here. That said, the Bucks have a bit of a tough schedule the rest of the way and if they stumble much they could slip down the standings.

No. 7-8 seeds: This could go just about any direction. Here is where things stand now:

7. Brooklyn —
8. Boston (-1 game)
9. Indiana (-2 games)
10. Miami (-2 games)
11. Charlotte (-2.5 games)

The Nets picked up a nice win Monday night over Portland and are now two games clear of falling out of the playoffs, with a magic number of just three to clinch a playoff spot.

Boston has the eight seed but also a looming home-and-home series with Cleveland. If the Cavs rest key guys (say, LeBron James) it would be a big boost because Boston could use a split.

Indiana got the boost from Paul George’s return and has a couple easy games before a tougher stretch to close out the season.

Miami has been struggling of late and now have lost Luol Deng and Michael Beasley for the rest of the regular season. Charlotte is not out of it but they are going to need some help.

Khris Middleton hits buzzer-beating, game-winning 3-pointer against Heat (video)


Khris Middleton missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer with 12 seconds left, but the Bucks didn’t stop fighting.

Ersan Ilyasova grabbed the offensive rebound and drew a shooting foul. He split at the line, but Jerryd Bayless tied up Michael Beasley going for the rebound and won the ensuing jump ball. Bayless missed a shot, but Zaza Pachulia saved the ball and got it to Middleton.

This time, Middleton – who was 4-of-16 from the field and 1-of-7 on 3s before the attempt – didn’t miss.