NBA

Michael Beasley’s Return to the NBA Was Stunningly Brief

While all NBA teams have felt the strain placed on the league by COVID-19, none have been as affected as the Brooklyn Nets. To begin with, the Nets already lacked superstars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. Then, key players like DeAndre Jordan and Spencer Dinwiddie began opting out of the Orlando bubble after testing positive for the coronavirus.

To plug the gaps in the roster, the Nets signed veteran forward Michael Beasley, who last suited up for the Lakers in the 2018-19 season. Yet Beasley’s stint in Brooklyn ended as quickly as it began. Let’s look at his career, signing with the Nets, and his return to the NBA that went awry.

Michael Beasley’s NBA career

The Miami Heat drafted Beasley with the second pick of the 2008 NBA draft, fully expecting him to develop into a franchise player. During his first year, reports Pro Basketball Reference, Beasley averaged 13.9 points and 5.4 rebounds, mostly playing off the bench. While those numbers are solid for a rookie, Beasley raised some eyebrows due to the multiple fines he racked up for violating the Heat’s team policies.

Beasley moved into a starting role in his second season, increasing his numbers across the board. Yet in July 2010, the Heat traded him to the Minnesota Timberwolves for a pair of future second-round draft picks. The move helped open up the cap space necessary to sign coveted free agents LeBron James and Chris Bosh.

Beasley had his most productive season that first year in Minnesota, averaging 19.2 points per game, and shooting 36.6% from three-point range. Yet he lasted just two seasons with the Timberwolves. Subsequent stints followed with the Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets, Milwaukee Bucks, and New York Knicks. Beasley also spent time playing overseas in the Chinese Basketball Association.

Beasley has always been acknowledged as a talented scorer. Yet Beasley failed to find long-term stability due to both his lack of defense and his tendency to get himself into trouble off the court. Whether fairly or not, a reputation as a somewhat undisciplined player has continued to dog Beasley throughout his career.

Beasley gets a chance with the Nets

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Despite having played for seven different teams in his 11-year NBA career, Beasley is still just 31 years old — an age when many players still have plenty of competitive basketball left in the tank. Beasley certainly still believes in himself as an impactful, NBA-caliber player. Yet it was beginning to seem that teams around the league failed to share that optimistic outlook.

The coronavirus-related shortage of playoff-tested veterans changed all of that. On July 9, the Nets signed Beasley as a Substitute Player to help shore up their thinning ranks. While the team probably wasn’t under any illusions about whether Beasley could help them make a deep playoff push, his proven abilities as a microwave scorer were enough to make him an asset.

Gone as quickly as he arrived

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Beasley soon reported to the Orlando bubble, where he had to test negative for coronavirus for six straight days before he could the team in practice. At some point in those six days, Beasley tested positive for the virus. By the time it was revealed, Beasley had already left the NBA’s bubble.

Initially, reporters didn’t know whether Beasley would rejoin the team once he started testing negative. A couple of days later, the Nets made it clear that Beasley would not be coming back, and that they would look to replace his roster spot as quickly as possible. According to Yahoo Sports, forward Justin Anderson is one player the Nets are currently considering.