Beasley, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 draft, has accepted a spot on the Portland Trail Blazer’s Summer League squad, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
It’s not a typical move for an 11-year NBA veteran but it’s the first step for Beasley to get back into the NBA. He last played for the Lakers during the 2018-19 season, playing 10.7 minutes and averaging 7.0 points. Beasley put his name in for the G League draft last season but was not selected.
Beasley played for the Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association after leaving the Lakers in 2019, winning a CBA title. He averaged 22.4 points, 9.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game, adding 2.2 blocks and 1.2 steals. He shot 50% from the field and 33% from beyond the arc.
It was Beasley’s second stint in China. He previously played with the Shanghai Sharks, averaging 28.6 points, 10.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.9 steals in 37 games. He was named the CBA Foreign MVP.
Beasley was signed by the Nets during the bubble season but his contract was voided after he tested positive for COVID-19.
It’s an interesting move for Portland, which will get first dibs on Beasley if they are impressed by what they see. Zach Collins and Carmelo Anthony are set to be free agents, so if Beasley is a pleasant surprise, he could provide some depth for the Trail Blazers.
Beasley Says LeBron James Like Older Brother
Prior to landing in Los Angeles, Beasley played with LeBron James in Miami. He formed a relationship with the four-time MVP and identified James as a mentor.
“He’s like my older brother. Somebody I learn from, somebody I’ve always looked up to. Him, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo (Anthony), even Chris Paul,” Beasley said in 2018, per Silver Screen & Roll. “He’s one of the few guys that doesn’t have to, but knows how to play the game the right way. Not only knows, but wants to play the game the right way… Just spacing the floor, running the floor, having fun, dunking, throwing (alley-oops). Just playing basketball.”
Beasley has been hustling to prove he can be a contributor in the NBA again, so all those guys he listed would be happy to see him back in the league.
Lakers Have Busy Offseason Ahead
The Lakers have their own issues to worry about this offseason, most notably retaining some of their key free agents. Dennis Schroder, Alex Caruso, Andre Drummond, Wes Matthews and Markieff Morris are some of the names the Lakers will negotiate with.
“We feel like the roster we had this year was a championship-caliber roster,” Pelinka said in his exit interview, per The Athletic. “And obviously there were a lot of things that came into the mix that weren’t within our control that kept us from winning a championship. … Of course, we’ll learn from this season and from how the roster was constructed and we’ll apply that wisdom and experiences to what we do going forward.”
Regardless of what happens in free agency, with James and Anthony Davis as the centerpieces, there’s little doubt the Lakers will be back competing for a title next year. The question will be if they can stay healthy.