Michael Beasley's Best Shot at Redemption Is with the Los Angeles Lakers

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistAugust 13, 2014

The Los Angeles Lakers and Michael Beasley—why not?

At this stage of the offseason, it makes a whole lot of sense for the two sides to join forces. Sure, nothing—literally nothing—of merit may result from the marriage, but who knows?

After all, Beasley is in dire need of redemption at just 25 years old. That very number and the scary-good potential that comes along with it should pique the interest of Mitch Kupchak and the front office.

Beasley was the No. 2 overall selection in the 2008 draft, but certainly had the talent to qualify for No. 1 if the spot had not gone to Derrick Rose. The Kansas State product has had a laughable, sometimes sad career trajectory to get to this point. The term free fall does not do it justice.

It started with a massive red flag at the rookie symposium. There was a trip to rehab. Multiple marijuana incidents. The Miami Heat picked him up last season after Minnesota and Phoenix gave it a whirl, and Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe noted after the season that "NBA sources said James was not pleased with Beasley’s focus and he lost the confidence of coach Erik Spoelstra shortly into the season."

So here we are.

Yet, there is a certain allure the Lakers are right to have, especially when one digests the numbers Beasley has posted on his wild journey to date:

2008-09MIA .472 5.4 1.0 13.9
2009-10MIA .450 6.4 1.3 14.8
2010-11MIN .450 5.6 2.2 19.2
2011-12MIN .445 4.4 1.0 11.5
2012-13PHX .405 3.8 1.5 10.1
2013-14MIA .499 3.1 0.7 7.9

All things considered, it is impressive to think that his career-high average of 19.2 points was just a few years ago. Not only did he at least attempt to become a better defender last year, he connected on 34.8 percent of his shots from long range.

So it should come as no surprise that the Lakers apparently liked what they saw when he worked out for them, per ESPNLosAngeles.com's Dave McMenamin.

"[Beasley] looked very good and he has been working out," one source said. "A tiny rust from layoff, but [he] did a good job."

The addition of Beasley is obviously a tough decision for any franchise, Lakers included, but ProBasketballTalk.com's Brett Pollakoff guessed earlier in the offseason that some team will think they have "it" when it comes to getting the man to focus:

But again, on a minimum salary deal, there are teams that will take a long hard look at Beasley next season. They’ll need to have a strong system in place with veteran players that have control of the locker room in order for him to have a chance to succeed, but in the right situation, a team will convince itself that they can be the ones to unlock all that potential, and get him to focus for an entire NBA season.

Are the Lakers that team? They just might be.

The front office has clearly thrown in the towel on next season already. Julius Randle needs time to develop. Jeremy Lin was quietly a very, very good addition. But Kobe Bryant is aging, Nick Young is a wild card and Carlos Boozer, well, this isn't 2007.

If Kupchak and Co. have even an inkling that they can get Beasley to realize his potential while the team downright stinks, the signing needs to happen. That has been the strategy this offseason—fans see names such as Lin come on board and think it's a tank job, and it sort of is, but somewhere inside Lin is a borderline elite point. If it comes to fruition, that is one franchise piece the team does not have to unearth.

Beasley is the same. He is horrific on defense, but let's not pretend the front office cares about that with Bryant, Young and Lin already on the roster. But he might just be able to get out and run in transition and post career highs with Lin getting him the ball in the right spots.

Even if it means turning down another franchise and taking a pay cut, Beasley needs to make this happen.

This is a miserable franchise at the moment in need of uplifting. It just so happens to be in one of the biggest markets. Beasley just so happens to be matching in the miserable category at the moment, but imagine how big it would be for his turnaround if he was given credit for the Lakers shocking the globe next season in a deep Western Conference.

Most important of all, though, is Bryant. Beasley turned his game around in a statistic sense with the Heat last year during a title push. The natural talent is there. What he needs more than anything is a mental stalwart like Kobe.

If Bryant—hungry for a title as his career fades to black—can get through to Beasley, watch out.

The possibility alone has to fuel Beasley's interest in Los Angeles if he is serious about righting the ship before it is too late. In respect to how old he is, the thing has yet to even leave port. He might just need the right crew and captain. 

Los Angeles is his best—perhaps final—chance. 


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