When the Phoenix Suns signed talented, but troubled forward Michael Beasley to a three-year, $18 million contract last summer, they knew he was a high-risk project who might be worth the gamble. Now that the 24-year-old Beasley is without an NBA team due to a contract buyout by the Suns, franchises who are willing to take a similar gamble can put up less risk capital to sign the 6-foot-10 forward.
Beasley was recently arrested on suspicion of marijuana possession—just another line item on a list of off-court troubles he’s experienced in the past. As a result, the Suns decided to buy out the rest of his contract for $7 million to prevent any further tarnishing of the franchise.
“We have high standards for all of our players,” said Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough. “We expect them to represent the team and the community in a positive manner both on and off the court.”
Beasley’s off-court antics have finally caught up with him and this hampers his ability to command another high-priced, long-term contract with another team. Of course, this is good news for teams that don’t mind putting their reputation on the line in order to pick up Beasley.
The second overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft averaged a career-high 19.2 points per game in the 2010-11 season with the Minnesota Timberwolves. However, his season averages have dipped since then, bottoming out at 10.1 points per game this past season with the Suns.
Still, Beasley is 24 years young and has time to save his NBA career if he’s willing to put forth the effort—a big “if” given his reputation. Nonetheless, Beasley's adept scoring ability will prove valuable to any team, but at least the risk associated with signing him could come at a lower price.