In the wake of Steve Nash’s departure, the Phoenix Suns have made their first unrestricted free-agent acquisition of the offseason. Michael Beasley has agreed to join the Suns on a three-year, $18 million deal ESPN’s Marc Stein reports.
The small forward played the last two seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves after spending his first two years with the Miami Heat. Minnesota declined Beasley’s $8.1 million qualifying offer on June 30, allowing him to hit the market as a free agent. Beasley met with Suns’ front office personnel in Los Angeles earlier this week, and then met again with them today in Phoenix. The two sides verbally agreed to a deal this evening, but the three-year contract cannot officially be signed until July 11 per NBA rules.
That day could be an important one for the Suns as they reportedly will sign Eric Gordon to a $58 million dollar offer sheet as well. While New Orleans has announced its intention to match any offer Gordon receives, he has publicly expressed his desire to join the Suns. In addition to pursuing more free agents and possibly renouncing some of their own players, the Suns may spend the next seven days pursuing a sign-and-trade with New Orleans to secure Gordon’s services.
Whether or not Gordon makes it to Phoenix, the Suns’ offense will undoubtedly received a big boost with the addition of Beasley, though this season’s numbers may not reflect his offensive capability. After averaging 19 points a night and starting every game for the T-Wolves two seasons ago, Beasley’s scoring average dropped to 11.5 per game this year. He started only seven games. A coaching change, the emergence of Kevin Love as one of the premier players in the league, and the addition of Derrick Williams through the draft all contributed to Beasley’s drop in playing time and scoring output. But those don’t tell the whole story. This type of inconsistency has plagued Beasley’s throughout his four-year career.
The first thing that comes to mind when most fans and pundits talk about Michael is his “mercurial” nature. He has been described by NBA writers over the years as everything from moody and disinterested to unreliable and flaky. For the sake of the Suns’ organization, fans, and bloggers, this three-year contract could be just the thing to turn Beasley’s career around. The fact that the Suns were Beasley’s first choice team could indicate his desire to turn over a new leaf and start fresh.
When he does join the team, Beasley will fit well in the Suns’ post-Nash offense. Whether he starts or comes off the bench, Beasley is a more traditional small forward than Jared Dudley, and a more athletic SF than the 39 year-old Grant Hill (who may very well follow Nash to LA). There’s no way to know what the Suns’ lineup will look like next year, but with 38 year-old Nash leaving and 23 year-old Beasley coming in, it will undoubtedly be younger, more athletic, and have even more ridiculous hair.
No matter what happens, the Beasley signing is just the start of what should be an exciting week in Phoenix.