Michael Beasley says his marijuana issues are a thing of the past, that he’s ready to show the Phoenix Suns that their support for him is warranted.
The 6-foot-10 forward signed a three-year, $18 million contract with Phoenix on Friday, then faced questions about his past head-on at a news conference.
”I realize 10 minutes of feeling good is not really worth putting my life and my career and my legacy in jeopardy,” he said, ”so I’m confident to say that that part of my career, that part of my life, is over and won’t be coming back.”
In June 2011, Beasley was ticketed for possessing marijuana and speeding in a Minneapolis suburb. He also has acknowledged that while playing for Miami, he twice violated the NBA’s drug policy and entered a treatment facility in 2009.
Beasley credits working with former NBA player Norm Nixon for getting his priorities straight.
”I’ve really realized my potential,” Beasley said. ”I’ve really realized what I can do.”
Suns general manager Lance Blanks was effusive in his praise of Beasley’s honesty as well as the unquestionable talent he brings to the rebuilding Phoenix organization.
”Regardless of his past and regardless of any thoughts that people may have,” Blanks said, ”we are excited, I know I am excited, to embrace everything he is about and most importantly wants to be as a Phoenix Sun.”
Blanks and coach Alvin Gentry talked of Beasley’s infectious personality.
”You’re around him and you want to embrace him and you want him to do well,” Gentry said. ”I think everybody here will be pulling for him.”
Beasley, the second pick overall in the 2008 draft, played his first two seasons with Miami and the last two with Minnesota. He became a free agent when the Timberwolves declined an $8 million option to keep him.
There is no doubt that Beasley brings immense talent, whether he plays the small or power forward position. The former Kansas State player averaged 15.1 points per game in his four NBA seasons. He has 10 career games of 30 or more points, nine of them the past two seasons, topped by a career-high 42 against Sacramento on Nov. 10, 2010.
The Suns sent Beasley a text shortly after midnight the day that contact with free agents was allowed and followed up with a trip to Los Angeles. The attention was a major factor in Beasley choosing Phoenix.
”I’d like to thank the organization for believing in me,” he said, ”giving me another chance, a better opportunity to grow as a person and a player. Like Lance said, I kind of want to take my past head-on. What happened, it happened. It happened in a growing process. I’m still a young man. I’m still learning today. The mistakes I made in the past are hopefully behind me. Hopefully, the Suns organization can be patient with my growing process. I’m just excited to get a start, excited to play basketball.”
After playing in the more rigid systems of Miami and Minnesota, Beasley looks forward to running the court with the up-tempo Suns.
”The run-and-gun style of offense is something that not just myself but a lot of NBA players dream of playing in,” he said. ”But what really drew me was that I was No. 1 on their list. That really made me feel good as a person. Phoenix is the first and only team I met with this summer. Once the meeting was over, once the day was over, I felt good about coming to Phoenix and I didn’t have to meet with any other teams. I really feel like they are sincere in everything they say. … It makes me feel good that someone actually believes in me and someone is willing to give me a chance.”