NBA Rumors: Could Michael Beasley Be Headed to the Lakers?

Ross DautelContributor IIIFebruary 23, 2012

PHOENIX - DECEMBER 15:  Michael Beasley #8 of the Minnesota Timberwolves drives the ball agianst Grant Hill #33 of the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game at US Airways Center on December 15, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Suns defeated the Timberwolves 128-122.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Rumors have recently surfaced regarding the Los Angeles Lakers' interest in Timberwolves small forward Michael Beasley.

This is not the first time the 16-time NBA champions have expressed interest in Beasley. As ESPN's Chris Broussard notes, Los Angeles was in discussion with Minnesota before the season began about possibly moving the talented forward to the Lakers.

Beasley is currently averaging 12.2 points per game for the Timberwolves to go with five rebounds and one assist and could provide a solid scoring boost of the bench for LA.

The price to acquire Beasley likely wouldn't be much, and the Lakers could simply absorb Beasley's salary into their $8.9 million trade exception.

Beasley has received much notoriety in regards to his immaturity, but his on-the-court ability is unquestioned, and he would certainly give Los Angeles a much-needed shot in the arm.

The maturity issue shouldn't be a make-or-break factor, seeing as the Lakers have veterans such as Derek Fisher and Kobe Bryant who could keep the 23-year-old in line.

Another reason to pursue Beasley from the Lakers' perspective is that the commitment is very little. If he doesn't pan out in Los Angeles, the Lakers will simply decline to make a qualifying offer to him in the offseason and their hands are clean.

Beasley has shown flashes of brilliance during his short career as a member of the Heat and the Timberwolves. He averages a respectable 15.5 points a game despite having to share the ball with the likes of Kevin Love and Dwyane Wade.

For Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, this is a potential low-risk, high-reward situation.

If Beasley doesn't pan out, the most Los Angeles will lose is a draft pick. But if the talented small forward comes into his own in the City of Angeles, it could vault the Lakers into the discussion of the Western Conference elite.

The Timberwolves don't appear to be in a position to add any more players to an already-crowded roster, making the possibility of just giving up a draft pick a realistic one for the Lakers.

Of course, the point guard position is a more pressing issue for the Lakers as opposed to Beasley's position of small forward.

Names that include free agent Gilbert Arenas and Cleveland's Ramon Sessions have shown up on the Lakers radar.

As far as Beasley is concerned, though, the Lakers have sorely missed the sixth man scoring threat that Lamar Odom left behind.

Beasley could be the answer to that problem. And with a seemingly low price tag, the time is now for Los Angeles to make a move and acquire the small forward.