Michael Beasley is eyeing a return to the NBA.
The 33-year-old, who has not played since 2019, told Michael Scotto of HoopsHype that he feels better than ever after taking some time to work on his game.
I’m better than I’ve ever been. The last three years, 100 percent, I wish I could’ve been playing basketball at some level. One thing that it’s done for me is it’s given me a chance to remember who I am, fall in love with that person again, and teach him how to play basketball and learn from what he’s learned over the years. These last three years, I’ve just been perfecting my craft on every level on both sides of the ball.
The Miami Heat drafted Beasley second overall in 2008. He spent two seasons with the franchise before being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves ahead of the 2010-11 season. From there, he bounced around the league, playing for the Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets, Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks, in addition to a second stint in Miami.
Beasley last played for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2019. He averaged seven points, 2.3 rebounds and one assist per game before the Lakers traded him to the Clippers, who waived him not long after the deal.
The Kansas State product was signed by the Brooklyn Nets for the Orlando bubble in 2020, but he tested positive for COVID-19, which ruined the opportunity. Since then, he has worked out with John Wall and Tyreke Evans, among others, as he told Scotto he's trying to keep his mind "on the goal no matter how dark it gets or unrealistic it may seem."
Beasley attempted to return to the NBA over the summer. He tried out for the Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA Summer League but didn't receive a contract, so he took his talents to the Puerto Rican league, where he plays for the Cangrejeros de Santurce.
In 11 NBA seasons, Beasley averaged 12.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game while shooting 46.5 percent from the floor and 34.9 percent from deep. His best season came in 2010-11 with the Timberwolves (his third season in the league) when he averaged a career-best 19.2 points per game, in addition to 5.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists.
Beasley also spoke about his perception:
Honestly speaking, I think people don’t disrespect but overlook what I’ve been able to do in the amount of time I’ve been able to do it in. If you look at my per 36 numbers for every team, they’re All-Star caliber numbers (19.6 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists). My argument for my career is I’ve never been given a chance to play extra minutes.
Off the court, my mom died when I was playing for the Lakers. I fought through that, and I came back. My cousin died the game I forgot my shorts in Oklahoma. I was battling that day, trying to fight through it. I wanted to go to the funeral, but I was already gone when my mom died. I just wanted to be there for the team, and the whole world just laughed at me. My whole career, I’ve never been given a chance to show who I really am, how I can really play, show that I can really win and be somebody. The whole world laughed at me. It hurt my feelings. I’m not going to lie.
While it seems like a long shot for Beasley to return to the NBA, it might not be as unrealistic as many think. Several players have been signed to 10-day hardship deals because of COVID-19 absences, including Isaiah Thomas, Greg Monroe, Lance Stephenson and Langston Galloway.
But what sets Beasley above the rest? He told Scotto:
One, my scoring ability, which everybody knows. I think my mindset has never been put on display. I know the game so well on both sides of the ball. I want to show people that I can play defense, and I’m not just a scorer. I can impact the game in so many different ways.