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Michael Beasley: A timeline of opportunity and self destructive behavior

Does this picture not say it all? Again, Michael Beasley is in the news, and for the Phoenix Suns for another unfortunate reason. There has been a pattern throughout the career of the enigmatic talent's career going up and down...

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Back in the spring of 2008 there was a lot of banter and talk from inside the NBA and in the NBA community that a versatile forward from Kansas State could be the No. 1 Overall pick in the NBA Draft. Not since Carmelo Anthony has there been a more versatile, talented, and intriguing forward that has come into the NBA than Michael Beasley.

Beasley had (has) all the talent in the world to be an elite scorer with his size, handle, and shooting ability. There are very few basketball players that are Beasley's peers with that skill-set.

The problem has always been and seemingly will always be Beasley's penitence penchant for self destructive behavior. That is his fourth skill, another that very few of his peers have.

Since entering the NBA in 2008 Beasley has had seven run-ins with the law for a combination of drugs, weapons, speeding, and sexual assault. Because of that he has played for three teams in five years. That behavior started before Beasley had even played a game in the NBA, setting the tone for his career as a whole.

  • June 26, 2008: Michael Beasley is drafted No. 2 overall by the Miami Heat
  • September 3, 2008: Police are called to a room where Mario Chalmers, Darrell Arthur, and Michael Beasley set off a fire alarm at 2 a.m. When the police arrived the room smelled strongly of marijuana. Beasley was not in the room, but later admitted to being in attendance.
  • August 24, 2009: After pictures surfaced online of Michael Beasley on a boat with what appeared to be marijuana he checked into a rehab clinic.
  • July 12, 2010: Michael Beasley is traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves with the opportunity for a second chance.
  • June 26, 2011: Nearly two years without incident, Michael Beasley is pulled over for speeding and on search a bag of marijuana was found.
  • August 4, 2011: At a streetball event with fellow NBA friends Michael Beasley was in a confrontation with a fan where he "open hand" pushed him in the face.
  • July 20, 2012: Michael Beasley signs 3-year, $18 million deal for a third chance with the Phoenix Suns.
  • January 25, 2013: Pulled over for speeding, 71 miles per hour in a 45, police found a loaded gun in the car.
  • May 2013: Michael Beasley is reportedly under investigation for sexual assault in Scottsdale, Arizona.
  • August 6, 2013: Michael Beasley is reportedly arrested for marijuana possession after being pulled over for traffic violation.

The pattern seems to be simple; two strikes and the team forces Beasley is out. The Miami Heat did not wait for a third strike and the Minnesota Timberwolves opted to not bring back in Beasley for the potential of a third strike.

Teams take chances on Beasley for the talent, but with Phoenix being the third destination with no change in the results it could be his last as they just experienced a third strike.

Here are the details from the most recent arrest that could be a major one for Beasley according to Arizona

Phoenix Suns forward Michael Beasley was arrested in Scottsdale on Tuesday morning and could be facing charges for drug possession, according to Scottsdale police.

Police stopped Beasley in Scottsdale at 1:15 a.m. Tuesday for a traffic violation in the area near Scottsdale and McCormick roads, according to the Scottsdale Police Department.

According to police, officers searched his vehicle after smelling marijuana coming from the car and confiscated narcotics located in the driver area.

Beasley was arrested on suspicion of marijuana possession and released from custody. He could be facing charges for drug possession.

Over the years has Beasley's talent outweighed the negative off-the-court attention he seems to magnetize to? In five seasons he has averaged 14.1 points per game on teams that have won a combined 144 games (lost 210) in games he has played in. His total win shares for his career collectively is 8.7 in 354 games played. Ironically his offensive win shares are -0.2 for his career.

Going forward is Beasley worth the money, trouble, and to be frank, embarrassment that comes with these types of arrests for a franchise?

That is a decision the Suns brain-trust of Robert Sarver, Lon Babby, and Ryan McDonough have to consider. The team is on the hook for $9 million in guaranteed money for Beasley over the next two seasons regardless of their final call. He counts against the cap for $6 million this year and only $3 million guaranteed in 2014-2015. Under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement the team can also utilize the "Stretch Provision" as well.

With that they can effectively cut Beasley and pay out his $9 million over five seasons ($1.8 million per year) to remove him from the roster and spread out the financial burden. It also spreads out the cap hit over those five years as well alleviating the financial affect.

The team could cut him, stretch him, or keep him in-house, but the results are still the same financially. When the team signed Beasley they talked about a relationship deeper than basketball and mentoring the "young man." Does that still hold up today?

In an interview I conducted with Babby on December 7, 2012 this was his summation on Michael Beasley:

He is a great player and people will review it, second guess it, and analyze it, and if our experiment or efforts with Michael don't pay off then the criticism should come my way. You make decisions and you live with the decisions, most of the time we make good decisions, but we won't get them all right. I am not prepared to say we haven't gotten that one right yet. It is 20 games into a three year project and we knew it was going to be a project.

Babby continued to speak about Beasley and the project that they knew he would be, and that then general manager Lance Blanks and head coach Alvin Gentry were prepared for that challenge:

He wants to win, he wants to succeed, and he is feeling tremendous pressure to do all of those things and it is not always perceptible. I try to explain to him the way people see you is not always the way your acting, but it is not attitudinal on his part and that is the most important thing for me. I have felt that from the day I met him that this is a guy that is desperate to be successful and if we can help him become successful then it will be as gratifying as anything I have ever done in my career, or Lance has done in his career, and Alvin has done in his career and that is the goal. Obviously we haven't been able to find the solution in the first two months, but we never expected that we could."

Two-thirds of that equation are no longer in the fold here and now the team is 82 games into a 246 game commitment. More important they are three off court issues into this "experiment" as they phrased it that might be a stop-loss at this point.

No matter the decision the Suns are finding out the hard way what a Michael Beasley Third Strike looks like.

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