Michael Beasley is “moving toward” signing a contract with the Brooklyn Nets for the restart of the season at Disney World, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Beasley has not played in the NBA this season, and struggled in a supporting role for the Los Angeles Lakers last season. He was dealt to the Los Angeles Clippers at the trade deadline along with Ivica Zubac last season, but was immediately waived and went unsigned from there. He signed with the Chinese Basketball Association’s Guandong Southern Tigers after departing Los Angeles.
The Nets are in desperate need for scoring considering all of the absences they are dealing with at Disney. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are injured, and therefore will not play for the Nets this season. Spencer Dinwiddie, DeAndre Jordan and Taurean Prince have all tested positive for the coronavirus, and have each decided not to join the Nets in Florida either. Rookie center Nicolas Claxton is dealing with an injury as well, and veteran Wilson Chandler opted out willingly, so that left the Nets with five total roster spots to fill.
Two of them were filled before the rash of positive tests Brooklyn encountered, as they signed Justin Anderson and Tyler Johnson during the NBA’s initial transaction window. On Wednesday, they also agreed to a deal with veteran guard Jamal Crawford. Beasley will provide more offense for a Nets team that is down three of its top five scorers as well as Durant.
While Durant is not playing, he and Beasley have been friends since childhood. Both grew up in the Washington D.C. area and even shared an AAU team. If Beasley impresses in Orlando, he could theoretically prove worthy of a contract for next season from the Nets that would allow him and Durant to pair up in the NBA for the first time.
Even if not, the Nets had already lost most of their key players and lacked any major ambitions for this season anyway. As it stands currently, they are positioned to earn the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, setting them up for a first-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks in which they would be heavy underdogs. The Washington Wizards currently trail the Nets by six games in the standings, but need only to get within four to trigger a play-in scenario for the No. 8 seed.
Beasley violated the NBA’s anti-drug policy last April, and will therefore need to serve a five-game suspension before taking the floor in Orlando. At a minimum, that means Beasley will be eligible to play in five games for the Nets (three seeding games and two play-in games). If they reach the playoffs, that minimum rises to seven.
The Nets are so thin on scoring at the moment that the deals for Beasley and Crawford represent home run swings. Both come with risks, but have the upside to give the Nets a real jolt of offense at Disney.