After signing two players who likely won’t make it out of training camp, the Miami Heat now have added a third free agent who actually may have a shot at making the final roster of the defending NBA champions.
The Heat announced today they have signed forward Michael Beasley, the team’s first-round draft choice in 2008 who has struggled both on and off the court in recent seasons.
Beasley has seen his scoring and rebounding averages dip from 19.2 points and 5.7 rebounds a game in 2010-11 while with Minnesota to 10.2 and 3.8, respectively, with Phoenix last season.
According to news reports, Beasley currently is under investigation for sexual assault in Scottsdale, Ariz., for an incident at his home last January. That came after he was arrest in Scottsdale and charged with suspicion of possession of marijuana.
After signing him to a three-year, $18 million deal last summer, the Suns bought out his contract, making him a free agent.
Still, the 6-10 forward is only 24 years old and with him playing for the five-year veteran minimum of $1,027,424, according to reports (the Heat did not release terms), he represents an inexpensive risk by today’s standards.
He is one of four recent signees whose contract is not guaranteed. If he returns to his scoring ways, he could be a help off the bench for the Heat. If he doesn’t, the Heat still have the bulk of the players who have won the last two NBA titles.
After the Heat made him the second player picked in the 2008 draft behind Chicago’s Derrick Rose, Beasley played in 159 games for Miami, averaging 14.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game. He snot 46.1 percent from the field in making 97 starts.
He also played in 12 playoff games for the Heat, averaging 11.4 points and 6.7 rebounds a game.
“Michael had the best years of his career with us,” Heat President Pat Riley said in a news release announcing the signing. “We feel that he can help us.”
The Heat dealt him to Minnesota to make room to sign swingman Mike Miller in July 2010. In a bit of irony, the Heat released Miller this summer to ease the financial hit they will take from the league’s luxury tax.
Beasley’s signing comes the day after the Heat signed free agents Justin Hamilton and Eric Griffin.
Their signings put the Heat roster at 17 going into camp. Teams can have 10 players in camp but carry only between 13 and 15 when the season starts. The Heat open camp Oct. 1 and the regular season four weeks later.