Why did nobody want Michael Beasley?

July, 16, 2010
7/16/10
4:37
PM ET
Abbott By Henry Abbott
ESPN.com
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Michael Beasley has been talking to his new fans in Minnesota.

He has always had a ton of charisma and lots to say. For instance, he says "people don't know I'm actually a good guy. I actually love kids and dogs and long walks in the park and stuff like that."

Big laughs on that one.

He was also wholly believable when asked if he would have liked to have stuck around with the Superfriends (trying the nickname on for size) in Miami. "Maybe," he says. "I guess. Would have been fun. But we're here now."

I recognize that Shane Battier or Grant Hill would have said something about how great the Twin Cities are. But that would have been hard to swallow! The man earns credibility with this answer and he said all the right things about working hard and being a good teammate, and it's believable when he says "I'm done dwelling on the past."

But about that past ... what the hell happened?

How did one of the NBA's more respected franchises, one with some strong characters like Pat Riley and Alonzo Mourning on the case, give up on an affordable player with insane potential?

Remember that enormous mess his life became last summer? With the rehab and all that?

They got to know him for two years and, after shopping around for months and months and finding no takers, ditched him for almost nothing.

This in a league where players with far less going for them than Beasley get paid for their potential all the time.

That's not good.

And remember what he was like in college? Watch the highlights! And before you tell me it's about his attitude, consider what his coach at Kansas State, Frank Martin, told me last summer:

"I was his number one fan when I was recruiting him, I was his number one fan when I was coaching him and will forever be his number one fan. All he ever has to do is call me and I'll do whatever I can for him."

Asked if Beasley was a harmless goofball, or something more serious, Martin denied that he was either. "Ask anyone on my coaching staff. He has a heart the size of the earth, and was as easy a kid to coach as I have ever had. He'd listen. He'd do what he was told. He was very coachable," says Martin. "He never did anything to hurt anybody. And if you ask his professors at K-State, I don't think they'll tell you he was a goofball either."

The raw materials of a great basketball player are there and he's a guy who can make a coach rave.

And it's not like his play as been abysmal. His PER last season was in the top 100 of all players, above average in the 16s, one notch ahead of Luol Deng who has what was until this month the biggest contract in Chicago Bulls' history. Also trailing Beasley in regular season production last season: respected players like Aaron Brooks, Lamar Odom, Anderson Varejao, Jameer Nelson, Kyle Lowry, and Ray Allen. Nobody thinks Beasley has even scratched the surface of his NBA potential, but even at last year's level he's a bargain for a guy still on his rookie contract.

There's a story in there somewhere. But from what has been made public, it makes no sense at all that the Heat would have to give him away.

Kurt Rambis and Beasley will in the gym together in Los Angeles all next week, according to Timberwolves' GM David Kahn. If Rambis, or any other coach, ever connects with the guy who played for Frank Martin, watch out. And if we never see that player again -- the one who was the best player in college three years ago -- there's going to be some explaining to do.

Henry Abbott | email

TrueHoop, NBA

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