The Los Angeles Lakers are looking to fill out the remaining spots on their roster before training camp begins, and one player drawing serious interest from the organization again is former Miami Heat forward Michael Beasley.
According to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders, Los Angeles worked out Beasley on Wednesday for the second time in the past month:
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
Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com reported that the Lakers initially worked Beasley out in late July. No deal was struck, however, and the two sides have been quiet about a potential deal ever since.
Earlier this month, I wrote that Beasley wasn’t the best option on the free-agent market for Los Angeles. The Lakers are now exploring all of their options. According to Sam Amick of USA Today, they have worked out seven other players:
After missing out on LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony in July, the Lakers held a free agent workout Tuesday in Los Angeles. The workout included forward Michael Beasley; big men Dexter Pittman, Greg Stiemsma, and Daniel Orton; and guards Bobby Brown, Toney Douglas, Ben Hansbrough and Malcolm Lee, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports.
At 25 years old, Beasley looks like the most promising option on the surface. The former No. 2 overall draft pick has talent in the offensive zone (career average of 13.2 points per game), but there are questions about his work ethic and maturity.
He has already played for three different teams during his six-year career and has been unable to find his way back into a starting lineup consistently since he was with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald wrote about why the Heat decided not to bring the veteran back this season:
A person with direct knowledge cited several reasons for the Heat's lack of interest: 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.
The Lakers need depth at center more than anything. While Beasley can play both forward positions, his time would be sporadic off the bench playing behind Nick Young and Wesley Johnson at small forward as well as Carlos Boozer, Julius Randle and Ed Davis at power forward.
With only Jordan Hill and Robert Sacre at center, looking to sign Pittman, Stiemsma or Orton would be the smarter move for the franchise.
Pittman, Stiemsma and Orton are journeymen as well, but each has the NBA experience and ability to be a depth player off the bench who can eat minutes while the starters and backups rest. They are each limited offensively, but with the size to be a force in the paint defensively, they would fill their role effectively for an affordable cost.
The best option among the candidates is Stiemsma. He has played in 186 games over the last three seasons and averaged 3.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 16 minutes per contest. Per 36 minutes, his averages rise to 7.6 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.8 blocks.
With Hill and Sacre needing a viable backup, Stiemsma could eat up minutes and not be a liability.
What should the Lakers do?
Beasley will likely demand a contract higher than Los Angeles should pay. Instead of dishing out the cash for him, the Lakers could likely sign one of the centers they worked out and still find the salary room to add a guard if that's a top priority.
The Lakers worked out guards Brown, Douglas, Hansbrough and Lee, but with Kobe Bryant returning from injury, Steve Nash still in the mix and role players like Jeremy Lin, Jordan Clarkson and Xavier Henry already on the roster, the organization should be focused on finding another big man.
Pittman, Stiemsma or Orton would be a better fit than Beasley.
Stats via NBA.com.