Best Potential 2014 Free-Agent Landing Spots for Michael Beasley
Although Beasley is still out there as a free agent, it would be a bit of a surprise if he didn't land somewhere next season after a solid campaign with the Miami Heat.
While Beasley's playing time was limited, he was pretty productive when he got on the floor and wasn't involved in any off-court predicaments.
Alex Kennedy of BasketballInsiders.com reported this on Twitter last week:
Several teams have expressed interest in free agent Michael Beasley. Teams like the efficiency and maturity he showed last season in Miami.
Beasley certainly won't be a marquee free-agent signing for any team, but he could theoretically help off the bench with his scoring ability as a small 4. Beasley's shooting percentages were almost all career bests across the board, so there's hope that he's now a more efficient player.
Let's take a look at the five teams that could be the best potential free-agent landing spots for Beasley this season.
Even though the Miami Heat have had a rough offseason, it makes sense to reap some of the benefits from the reclamation project with Beasley. Why spend all that time working with him in practice and getting his mind right only to let another team snatch him up?
If Beasley is willing to come back on a veteran's minimum deal, which should be the only contract he'll be able to pull down, a return to Miami is logical.
Here's what Beasley told Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel before LeBron James left for Cleveland when asked if he wanted to return:
'Of course,' he says, 'why wouldn't I want to come back?'
'Honestly, this season has flown by faster than any other I've been in,' the skilled forward said of experiencing May and June while still at work. 'I don't know why. I don't know how. I guess it really does fly when you're having fun.'
While the departure of James may take some shine off the Heat, it could free up some more playing time for Beasley as a scoring 4 off the bench for Miami. That certainly looks like a weakness right now, as Udonis Haslem doesn't have much left in the tank. Beasley is a good personnel fit.
A lot will depend on how much more Miami's staff feels they can do with him, but the Heat should be the favorite to retain Beasley in free agency. He looked more comfortable there than anywhere else.
New Orleans Pelicans
If the Miami Heat decide they don't want to retain Beasley, or if he wants to head elsewhere, the New Orleans Pelicans would be an interesting destination.
Although the Pelicans are a bit crowded at the 4 with Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson, Beasley can still play some 3, which is an area New Orleans is severely lacking. Beasley's versatility to slide between both positions might be viewed as a big plus.
Of course, for Beasley to justify time at the 3, he has to continue to shoot well from behind the arc. That's been hit and miss for him throughout his career, but his 38.9 percent mark last year bodes well for the future.
Remember, even though it feels like he's been around forever, Beasley is still only 25. There's room for him to change and improve, and if he could prove to a tough defensive coach like Monty Williams that he's willing to put in the effort on that end, he could earn some playing time.
Five years ago, if you would have told New Orleans fans they'd have Beasley and Tyreke Evans, they probably wouldn't believe you. Time has changed quite a bit, but there's still potential with Beasley as a bench scorer.
The Brooklyn Nets could really use some help at the 4, given Kevin Garnett's advanced age, and Beasley could be a cheap option. Andray Blatche is still unsigned, so if he heads elsewhere, this would make even more sense.
Beasley could play a role similar to Blatche, as he can post up a bit and rebound even if he prefers to play outside most of the time. Blatche's mobility was a huge plus for Brooklyn's defense last year, and while Beasley doesn't help you on the end, he could at least fill a similar role in size and shape.
The Nets also had a lot of success offensively with Paul Pierce as a small 4. Since he's with the Washington Wizards, that's a big gap that still remains unfilled late in the offseason.
Counting on major production from Beasley probably isn't wise, but he does have a high ceiling and could flourish in an expanded role. One way or another, Brooklyn needs to add players like that, and so signing Beasley on the minimum could satisfy a few needs.
The Denver Nuggets already have a very crowded roster and probably don't need much more depth, but finding a guy who can get buckets in a hurry in limited minutes might not be a bad idea.
For the most part, Denver's big men are somewhat limited in what they can do. Players like JaVale McGee and Kenneth Faried are more about collecting garbage at the rim, so adding a 4 like Beasley who can shoot from deep could diversify things a bit.
Danilo Gallinari will probably see some time at the 4, which might make Beasley a little unnecessary.
Still, given the health of Denver's whole team over the last few years, keeping Beasley's number close by might be a smart decision. While it's unlikely Denver would sign him right away, he could be a potential pickup should Denver get hit with the injury bug during preseason—if he's still available at that point.
The Houston Rockets are one of the few remaining teams with assets like the mid-level exception and bi-annual exception left to use, so if Beasley is gunning for a contract above the minimum, perhaps that would be a fit.
While Houston needs more help defensively than anything, Beasley could be a stretch 4 replacement for Omri Casspi who could at least hold his weight on the boards. With Jeremy Lin gone from the second unit, there should be more opportunities for other players to score, which might be where Beasley can step in.
Although it seems like an odd pairing, the Rockets might be willing to take the chance that Beasley has figured it out and won't chuck up bad shots any more. While Terrence Jones will clearly be favored for playing time, Beasley could back him up fairly reasonably and provide similar production in a lot of ways.
Again, this isn't really addressing a production need, but if Rockets general manager Daryl Morey wants to swing for the fences at the end of his bench, Beasley could be a viable option.