While the frenzy of the summer's free-agent activity may be in the rearview mirror, the process of building a complete squad for the coming season continues for several NBA teams.
One such team is the Los Angeles Lakers. After a devastating 2013-14 season in which the team recorded a franchise-worst record of 27-55, the importance of returning to prominence has been the top priority.
After the Lakers missed out on several top-tier free agents including LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony in early roster-bolstering attempts, the team turned its focus elsewhere. That focus has recently been fixed on small forward Michael Beasley, according to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders:
I'm told that Michael Beasley had a second workout with the Los Angeles Lakers today. We'll see if the Lakers sign him.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) August 27, 2014
Beasley worked out for the team Thursday, marking his second time doing so. On July 30, Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com tweeted the team's take on the forward's initial workout:
Source who saw Beasley's workout tells me: "Looked very good and he has been working out ... A tiny rust from layoff but did a good job"— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) July 30, 2014
There are currently 13 players on the Lakers roster, meaning two more spots will be filled before the season gets underway. Adding a small forward would certainly be a step in the right direction considering the position's current standing.
Currently, Xavier Henry and Wesley Johnson are the two players on Los Angeles' roster who fit the mold of a small forward.
Henry finally began to look like a former first-round pick last season before he was derailed by injuries. Johnson has tremendous physical tools, but he isn't a dominant offensive weapon and could be better served as a role player.
Beasley has shown his potential in past NBA seasons, averaging 14.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game with the Miami Heat in 2009 and a career-high 19.2 points and 5.6 rebounds per game one season later with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Last season, Beasley played 55 games for Miami, starting two, and he averaged 7.9 points and 3.1 rebounds in just 15.1 minutes per game. While it appears the 25-year-old forward is capable of decent production, maturity issues have plagued him throughout his career.
More recently, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald reported the Heat aren't interested in bringing Beasley back for the coming season:
A person with direct knowledge cited several reasons for the Heat's lack of interest [in Beasley]: Inconsistency, lack of trust in his defense (and ability to execute the Heat's defensive system), and maturity/focus issues, which are still a concern even though he improved somewhat in that regard last season.
It appears as though it's time for the Lakers to weigh the risk of signing Beasley due to his maturity issues against the reward of potentially adding a reliable small forward for the team's attempt of a bounce-back season.
Due to his recent production, it's not exactly safe to say Beasley would warrant a starter's time on the floor. However, he could prove to be a nice rotational piece and would provide insurance for the recently injured Henry.
We'll find out soon enough how newly appointed head coach Byron Scott and general manager Mitch Kupchak handle this situation.