Seldom has an NBA player’s career come so weirdly full circle in as short a timeframe as Michael Beasley’s: Drafted by the Miami Heat in 2007, ostracized to the league’s fringes after numerous infractions, only to be brought back to South Beach ahead of the 2013-14 season—a basketball prodigal son if ever there was one.
Now, the former No. 2 pick says he’s game to return to Miami next year, despite a career-low output and a roster role that could best be described as “garbage-time-centric."
Beasley then elaborated a bit on what made Miami a better fit the second time around:
Honestly, this season has flown by faster than any other I've been in. I don't know why. I don't know how. I guess it really does fly when you're having fun…A chance to win a ring is definitely satisfying. It's fun for a while trying to do it yourself, but losing basketball, it gets old. I definitely would opt for the extended season.
As Winderman notes, Beasley has yet to suit up in these NBA Finals.
Assuming the Heat bring him back—a big if, to be sure—Beasley’s role could stand to broaden next season, when Miami will once again be looking to round out a roster most assume will still feature LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.
Not that the 6’8” small forward did much of note to distinguish himself as a building block for the future, of course.
When he did get his chance to showcase his skills, the former Kansas State standout too often proved he hadn’t progressed much beyond his reputation as a basketball wildcard. Which prompted Bleacher Report's Sam Richmond to make the case that Miami should sever their Beasley ties once and for all:
But Beasley began reverting to his old habits (ball-stopping, lack of defensive instincts) and eventually lost Spo's trust—not some, all of it.
He was strictly a garbage-time player at the end of the regular season (excluding the final two games in which the Heat sat some key players)...
...Beasley showed flashes this season, but Spo's unwillingness to play him lately indicates that the Kansas State product's second stint in Miami is all but done.
Just how many chances does one player deserve? In Beasley’s case, that’s a judgment for the Heat and the rest of the league to make.
But if Beasley is genuine in his desire to return to Miami—even in his current benchwarmer capacity—what does Erik Spoelstra really have to lose in giving the 25-year-old forward another look?
Everything will depend on how Miami restructures its roster this summer. If the Heat find themselves well into luxury-tax territory, Pat Riley may well be wise to look elsewhere to spend whatever spare change he has left.
On the other hand, how much could a Summer League stint or training-camp invite really hurt? So long as he's not going around itching other people's knees thinking they're his, that is.