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Waiting For Michael Beasley to Stand Up

 

The Celtics are flying high right now, but the larger story beyond this season remains one of rebuilding in order to remain competitive as the core ages. And that won’t be easy. The Celtics don’t have a lot of assets other teams will want this off-season or even during the season next year.

Try and think of a realistic trade the C’s could make this off-season—a trade that would make some sense for all sides—and it’s tough to come up with too many appealing deals.

But there are a few decent names that could fit if everything falls right and the key people are interested. One name I kept coming back to as the regular season dragged on: Michael Beasley.

The Heat have just over $12 million in salary on the books for next season once you remove Dwyane Wade’s player option, per ShamSports.com. The salary cap is now projected to be about $56 million. Every player in the league wants to play in Miami. Let’s assume, for fun, that Miami signs both Wade and Chris Bosh to max deals. After that, the Heat will still have almost $10 million to spend before they hit the cap.

Miami’s goal is to build an instant title contender. Miami is also tired of Michael Beasley, who is averaging 9.5 points per game on 9-of-22 shooting—with zero free throw attempts—in two playoff games against Boston. On Tuesday, Wade said the following about Beasley (via Marc Spears at Yahoo!):

”I’m tired of answering questions about Beas not doing it,” Wade said. ”He has to continue to play. It’s going to click one day. Hopefully, it’s Game 3. He has the ability to really make us a tough team to play. It’s on Michael.”

Without reading too much into that quote, I’m pretty comfortable assuming Wade would not be devastated were Beasley on another team next season. Beas is scheduled to earn about $4.96 million next season, and Miami has a $6.2 million team option for 2012. Beasley’s not expensive, but he’s not super cheap, either.

The Celtics need young players with potential to grow. This is indisputable. They have very few tools with which to get such players, but one they do have is a possible sign-and-trade involving Ray Allen. So if you’re Danny Ainge, wouldn’t you consider signing Allen and dealing him to Miami for Beasley and cap filler? And if you’re Pat Riley, suddenly flush with a young-ish left-handed power forward with a penchant for the perimeter, wouldn’t you consider dealing your disappointing #2 overall pick in exchange for a dead-eye shooter who gives you one ingredient your instant title contender lacks? And wouldn’t you be especially interested if the shooter in question is a veteran with championship experience willing to be the 4th or 5th option on a championship-level team?

Which side says no to that deal?

I know what you’re saying: How could the Celtics deal a dependable veteran with something left in the tank for an enigmatic second-year guy who was in rehab less than a year ago for reasons that remain unclear? But here’s the thing: How are the Celtics going to get decent young players? Through the draft? That’s unlikely for the next two seasons, considering where they’ll be picking.

With the mid-level exception? There aren’t many young players with a 15-7 season on their resume in the mid-level market. Through a trade of someone other than Ray Allen? Ok, who are you trading? Kevin Garnett? Rasheed Wallace? Do you think any team really wants to take on those deals—both of which run through 2012—with the prospect of a new collective bargaining agreement looming after next season?

In theory, a Beasley-Allen deal has something to offer both teams.

But you know what? Michael Beasley has to show me something in a game that matters. And he’ll rarely play in a game that so clearly screams for him to put his imprint upon it as did Game 2. The C’s were throwing two or three defenders at Wade on every screen/roll, forcing Wade to give the ball up. Meanwhile, they were content with using Glen Davis to defend Beasley one-on-one, even on the perimeter. And when Davis jumped out to help on Wade? The C’s often didn’t bother rotating a help defender over to Beasley, content instead to wait until Davis recovered back to Beas. Trust me, I watched the tape.

And still: Beasley was invisible, aside from a first quarter drive-and-dunk that made you think, “Oh crap, maybe Beas is ready to take over.” Nope. Never demanded the ball, never isolated and told his teammates to get out of the way. Totally passive.

If he keeps playing like this, the Heat won’t mind giving him up.

And if he keeps playing like this, I’m not sure the C’s would ever be that interested in acquiring him. (Unless, of course, Miami wants Rasheed Wallace!).

  • CELT PRIDE

    HELL NO! Keep Ray, KG and Paul…and rondo and perkins and big baby…maybe even TA…trade the rest

  • dslack

    So: Trade Shelden Williams? Michael Finley? Brian Scalabrine? Nate Robinson? Marquis Daniels? None of those guys are even under contract next year, and no one’s doing a sign and trade for them. Think anyone wants to trade for Rasheed? I hope so but won’t hold my breath.

  • Mason

    Intriguing. Playing with Rondo who would get Beasley the ball in all the right places could work out. That’s if Beasley overcomes whatever mental blocks have been holding him back.

  • Yuckabuck

    But don’t we need a “dead-eye shooter” too? That was the argument all year against trading Ray- Who was going to be our outside threat to spread the defense? Rondo? Pierce? Nate? Finley? Tony Allen? Rasheed? Eddie House?

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    beas is not a guy to build around. he’s the next ty thomas.

    no quick fix for this team after this year. no way to pick up enough young talent to reload through trades….draft will have to be a part of it….which means slipping to lottery territory for a year or two.

  • Dave

    Why does Ray sign for $5M? He could get that with MLE anywhere. I assume we’d get some other junk to push up the salary.

  • still enjoying #17

    Do not trade Ray Allen. Bring back Eddie House. Please unload Rasheed, Nate Robinson.

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    @dave: Thus the phrase “and cap filler” in the post. I agree Ray is at least an $8M/yr player on a one- or two-year deal. Kidd-style.

  • dslack

    Beasley had one of the most spectacular freshman seasons in college basketball history. Carmelo averaged 22.2 points and 10.0 boards on 45% shooting. Durant averaged 25.8 points and 11.1 boards on 47% shooting. Beasley averaged 26.2 points and 12.4 rebounds on 53% shooting.

    I don’t know that there’s a Carmelo or a Durant hiding inside Beasley, but I do know that, playing alongside Wade, he has never been the focal point of an offense the way that Carmelo and Durant have. Maybe he has not grown as a player as much as he could have, and maybe he could truly blossom if given more freedom.

  • Zack

    Any chance KG or Sheed just retires? How does that impact our cap?

  • Jay P

    Ray has 2-3 years left, easy. Especially if he relegates to a bench role and becomes a Crawford like scorer as a 6-man.

    I’d have absolutely no issue seeing TA start in years to come, and have Ray come off the bench. He’ll also take a pay cut to play in Boston, as he likes having his family here, and as an excellent bench presence to have. There’s so much intrinsic value to having him.

    The only reason the trade rumors came up, was because of his current salary and expiring deal. He was a trade commodity because he had large expiring deal, and could help a team this year, while still allowing them flexability moving into free agency.

    But now that he’ll probably gladly take a team-friendly deal, and could greatly help this team in the future, not only on the court, but in developing younger talent as well, and being a good bench presence, the Celtics would be crazy to let him go.

    That and Beasley is not going to be a “build around” type contributor. Let’s face it, we’re stuck in what we got, any chance at getting younger was thrown out the window with Wallace. We’re going to have to ride this out, and expect a rebuilding year in 2012. Luckily we got Rondo and Perk locked up, so it’s a start. We’re not going to get younger in trade, our only chance is to find a steal late in the draft who exceeds expectations. Then hope we can bring in some talent when Wallace/Garnett’s contracts are finally off the books and get some support for Rondo/Perk.

  • Jay P

    If Sheed retires, I’ll throw a freaking parade. But it’s not going to happen, he’s a selfish jerk, and will keep playing regardless of how badly he’s hurting a team, as long they… yep. Cut That Check.

  • http://loscy.com LOSCY

    Michael Beasley should get this tattoo on his forehead: BUST.

  • PJ

    I’m a Celtics fan, but I really don’t think Miami will trade Beasley for Ray Allen. Maybe if Boston and Miami were the only NBA teams left on the planet, but otherwise Miami will hold out for someone who fills a bigger hole for them (a point guard, perhaps?). Ray is a great outside shooter, yes — he’s also a two guard, like Wade. Are they really going to trade Beasley for an aging sixth or seventh man who’s making ~8-10m/year (I’m guessing)?

  • zeus

    Think we have to be careful here not to get younger for the sake of getting younger. Anyone we get should be able to be a part of a championship contender and it doesnt look like Beasley can mature to play at that level.
    I think we will atleast make the playoffs next year and in 2012, the chances are KG would have retired and both Paul and Allen would be off our books. I dont think KG would continue playing if his play continues on this deteriorating trend.

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    I hope it’s clear I’m not sold on Beasley. One thing that should be mentioned though: He just turned 21 in January. 21.

  • John V

    If Ray Allen will sign a reasonable deal, I think we should keep him. If Miami or some other team wants to overpay him and he’s talking about going to them straight away, then certainly we should look to do a sign and trade. But only then.

    Perhaps a sign and trade with Nate Robinson could be a possibility, too. Some teams are probably interested in him.

    I love Big Baby, but I’d definitely listen to offers, primarily because I think he’s never been a great fit for the system the Cs run, and his value may never be higher than after these playoffs. If someone wants him badly enough, they may take Sheed, too.

    But I think there’ll probably be good options available for the midlevel exception. I also think there are probably good, cheap options in Europe or the D-league, for what I feel like they really need: a new James Posey.

    Or a Bruce Bowen. Or a Michael Pietrus. Or a Raja Bell. Or even an Ime Udoka, for a season. These guys were all available for nothing, and a top team signed them for nothing, and then, playing for a top team, they seemed super valuable. The C’s need someone who can guard SFs and and catch-and-shoot 3 pointers. Such guys can come cheap, if you do the work to find them.

  • Jason

    Ok, enough of these distractions. Time to start thinking about Game 3. Statement game. We have indeed flipped the switch. We’ve flexed our muscles and have wounded you and instead of easing up, we’re going to put you away now. That is to say, we have the killer instinct back. You think you are getting a boost from your home crowd? You think you are getting back into this series? No, you are going down and going down hard.

    Let’s make it happen fellas!

  • mitch

    why would we want beasley?? didn’t he call the celtics old before this series started, why do the c’s feel the need to sign guys who talk smack about them??? another example was D.J augustin

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    I like Jason getting psyched up a day in advance!

  • What More Can I Say?

    GTFOH!

    There are planty of young, talented players that are not busts that the Celtics are going to look at. Beasley is the type of player that will get released and you give him a look for a minimum to a 1 year deal.

    No need to trade for someone that will be looking for a job very soon.

  • Jason

    @Zach Actually bummed the game’s not tonight. Glad their getting an extra day’s rest, but I’m itching for Game 3 now. I want domination. I want them to finally put their money where’s their mouths have been all season, that this is the time they really care about, that they can do what they want when they want, that they’re not screwing around anymore, that the team is for real that they really are on a mission, completely focused on it, dead serious about it.

    You got a weak team on the ropes. They’re flawed and they’re wounded. But they’re heading home. Expecting some comfort, some boost, some new life. Don’t let them even hope to hope there’s a chance. That’s right, no hope of hope. Put them away.

    What an indictment it would be if they had this golden opportunity to finish them off, but showed us another pathetic, letdown performance. Get mentally prepared now. Not tomorrow. Not pregrame. Now. Visualize it now. Start getting pumped now. Be eager to come out intense. By game time tomorrow, you won’t be able to contain your intensity and you will come out and simply crush them.

  • zeus

    do you guys think KG wd continue to play out his contract?

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    @zeus: yes.

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    sheed won’t retire and no one will want him. he’s going to milk it out here for a couple more years, danny CTC unfortunately.

    i could see kg being an attractive pickup for a contender at the next deadline. even with the big money left on his contract, someone would swallow it to add him to a frontline for a title push.

    if they give the cavs a push in the 2nd round, danny will keep everything together over the summer, see where they are at the next deadline…..then rebuild.

  • Perry

    @Zach

    I feel like Linda Blair’s head in OMEN. Yesterday we lauded Ray; today it’s adios amigo. My how the pendulum swings in a span of 24 hours. But, I see where you’re going with this, and your analysis is spot on.

    First, you are absolutely right about the slim pickin’s when it comes to young players with upside. This free agent crop is so top loaded. When you get past what players those cap friendly team’s will solicit it is a precipitous drop.

    Even at this low price Beasely doesn’t intrigue me. Skilled…yes, but the character issue troubles me. Does he play with any heart? Not so sure. When you consider he’s the second option playing alongside arguably the third best player in the NBA he should be further along in his development.

    I think it’s a wee bit early to start playing GM, but nonetheless this team has to skew younger. Ray is one bargaining chip, but I’m not sold on Danny blowing up the Big 3. Celts own Ray’s Bird rights. Kevin isn’t about to jettison corporate America for Malibu. Pierce may rework his deal. I also doubt Sheed’s contract can be moved unless Larry Brown can guarantee us his son will not be uprooted from his school district.

    Rondo, Perk, and Davis make up a young, but veteran nucleus. I know it’s conjecture on your part, but a possible sign and trade involving Ray has to be on the table. I’m not a capologist, but could something be gained by dealing a newly signed Ray Allen for 8-9 million in return for David Lee? DL is unrestricted and starting him out at 10 million with millions more to follow (similar to Rondo) might work. You could always move Pierce back to the 2 spot and back him up with an MLE.

    You’re a NY guy. So would Lee take a little less during his first and second year as a Celtic to play along side KG and Perk?

  • Joel W

    One thing about Beasley: moving him from South Beach to North Station could be the best thing to ever happen to his NBA career. Bars close at 1:30 AM. Girls wear sweaters until June. Boston is the anti-Miami and might help keep him away from the clubs.

    Was also just looking through his career splits: he does worse on more days off, rather than better. God does that scream drinking problem. Get that man cleaned up, and there’s a beast lurking within.

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    @Perry: I’d have to think about Lee.

    But one thing I’m sure of: It is never too early to put on the GM hat. It’s their job to think years in advance.

  • Jay P

    Maybe Danny can talk ownership into buying out Sheed’s contract. “Hey guys… I know, I know. I screwed up, please bail me out? It’ll only cost you 12 million, come on, I’ll buy you a steak dinner.”

    Regardless, he should be benched in the coming years. He can’t hurt us on the bench, we’ll need to pick up a center somewhere to give Perk some rest, but I’d rather take a chance on a young Center (any draft possibilities?) than have to watch Sheed play anymore.

  • Jay P

    For fun I looked into some possible draft choices next year.

    http://hoopshype.com/draft.htm

    There’s quite a few big men through the middle of the draft (whiteside, Orton, Mortiejunas, Vesley, Monroe) most likely, none of those name would fall to the celtics pick, but if Danny could find a way to trade up, maybe.

  • Jrmz

    Heck no. Beasley has a low motor and a very lazy attitude to the game. Like a smaller Sheed. I’d rather take someone like JJ Hickson than Beasley because at least Hickson is willing to work.

  • Perry

    @Zach

    Don’t you think Lee could solve our rebounding problems? I think he’s athletic enough to maximize Rondo in the open court.

    The other guy I love is Boozer, but I’m sure he would be looking in the area of 15 million. I also like Azubuike from G.S. He could be had for MKE type money or perhaps less.

  • dslack

    @Jay P:
    A buyout still counts against the cap.

  • http://CelticsHub.com Zach Lowe

    And you think the Cavs are going to give Boston J.J. Hickson? For whom?

  • MikeN

    How about KG for Deng and Gibson?

    Gets the Bulls out from a questionable long term contract for Deng with just 2 big payments for KG. They can afford the luxury tax and do the trade after they sign their big free agents.
    Isn’t KG/Noah/Rose plus 2 free agents an instant contender?

  • JP

    Chances are we are stuck with Sheed. Would Monta Ellis still be available. Doesn’t seem like GS wants to build around Ellis and Curry, but rather that they are looking at Curry as their future (rightfully so, I knew he’d be amazing when he left Davidson).

  • MikeM

    Heat fan here, and yes I’m invading this space through TrueHoop. When I first looked at the article, I was thinking “Wait, he can’t be talking about Rajon Rondo or Kendrick Perkins, because those are the ONLY players Miami would be looking at in a Beasley trade, and Boston would (and should not) ever let them go. Then I get in and find he’s talking about Ray Allen. Huh???

  • Paolo

    @MikeM: I think the article only applies in the scenario that Miami uses their cap to build around an instant contender for next year, and that Ray Allen would be a vital contributor for a contender. Judging by the comments that Wade made, it’s not as if he’ll be affected if Beas is not back in Miami for the next season.

  • Slobo Chutzpah

    You lost me at “Beasley”.

  • Armand

    Only a Celtics fan will even suggest offering a washed-up, free-agent-to-be Ray Allen for a young talent like Beasley. More shocking are the comments second-guessing that idea because fans think the Celtics will get rip-off! Holy Mother. While you guys are at it, why don’t you offer Allen for Chris Paul or something? I am sure somebody will point to Paul’s knee and advice against the trade.

  • Armand

    Contrary to what you might beleive, even when building an ‘instant winner’, 5 million is not a lot to pay for a guy who can play both forward positions and have a chance to just blow up because he’s still young. Even if he doesn’t ‘get it’, Beasley is still going to give you 15 and 6 every game minimun, which is not bad for 5 million bucks. Get real.

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    @Armand: The washed up guy single-handedly destroyed you in Game 2 while your prized young forward spent yet another game standing around the perimeter on offense and failing to attempt a foul shot. Those are facts.

  • MikeM

    @Zach. Be serious. Look at Miami’s team. Our glaring holes are at PG and a big man who can finish in the lane. I don’t care if Ray went off for 50 on us. Why would Miami trade it’s only tradeable asset for an outside shooter? There are far more glaring needs that we need to fill IF we were to trade Beasley. Trading for Allen makes little sense on the Heat’s end. Nice try though. :)

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