As you've heard by now, the Spurs have reportedly worked out free agent forward Michael Beasley (of course Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports had it first), who most recently toiled last season for the Miami Heat.
To say that Beasley, the second overall pick of the 2008 draft, has had a checkered career is a massive understatement. He disappointed in his first stint with the Heat and was traded to Minnesota after two seasons for a pair of second-round picks in 2011 and 2014 as part of a salary dump to open up cap room for free agents LeBron James and Chris Bosh in the fateful summer of 2010. He lasted two seasons with the Timberwolves and then signed with Phoenix as a free agent in 2012, wearing out his welcome after just one year there, and then signed back with Miami last season on a "make-good" deal, with the idea that a stable, winning environment with veteran leadership would bring out the best of Beasley for suitors around the league.
It didn't go as planned, to put it kindly. While Beasley shot career-high percentages both overall and from downtown, his defensive apathy -- he had the worst defensive rating of anyone in Miami's roster who appeared in over seven games -- had him in and out of coach Erik Spoelstra's dog house all season long and he was out of the rotation for good by mid-March. He was inactive for most of the playoffs and saw 23 minutes of postseason time total, with 17 of those coming in Game 5 of the Finals, where Spoelstra, in complete desperation, gave him some run because nobody besides James could score. To Beasley's credit, there were no reported off-the-court incidents last year.
Make no mistake though, Beasley has bounced around from team to team because he's had numerous marijuana-related violations on his record and he was checked into a Houston rehab center in 2009, possibly due to addiction for other substances but officially he was receiving counseling for "stress-related issues." He was arrested in Scottsdale, Arizona on August of 2013 for drug possession after police found marijuana in his car during a traffic stop.
But the most distressing part of Beasley's file is that he was investigated for sexual assault by the Scottsdale Police Department stemming from a police report concerning an incident that reportedly took place on January 13, 2013. Unfortunately there has been a lot of news breaking lately about athletes who've been involved in violent acts toward women. And since the Spurs organization has always placed a high emphasis on acquiring players of high character, it's highly surprising that they would consider a player with such a red flag on their record -- and that's without considering Beasley's numerous other indiscretions.
Gary Neal was a Spur from 2010-2013 and he was arrested on rape allegations for an incident that transpired during a camp in the summer of 2004 before what was supposed to be his junior season at La Salle involving a woman on the University of New Haven basketball team, but he and a teammate were acquitted of all charges on November 4, 2005. Neal subsequently transferred to Towson and averaged 25.3 points as a senior and had numerous professional stops abroad before signing with the Spurs in 2010.
Now fas of most any team would roll their eyes and stifle a yawn at the prospect of their team kicking Beasley's tires, but this is the Spurs we're talking about, so the situation is altogether different. They have a well-deserved reputation of constantly being a step ahead of the rest of the league in player evaluations and acquisitions. If they're interested in someone, it's received in an entirely different way than, for example, if the Sacramento Kings are.
There's also the fact that the Spurs only have 14 guaranteed contracts on their roster at the moment, with talks with free agent center Aron Baynes going nowhere, and the misguided presumption by some that the team would feel the need to fill that last spot with a "name" signing instead of a non-guaranteed-at-the-moment camp invitee such as Bryce Cotton or JaMychal Green. The Spurs have seemed to throw out red herrings this time of year -- signing people like Sam Young and Cory Maggette last season and Eddy Curry a year before that -- which gives the media something to chase and bother coach Gregg Popovich about instead of asking him about things he'd rather not divulge.
This time last season, there was some hand-wringing about whether the Spurs would pick Young or Maggette to be Kawhi Leonard's backup at the three, when the likely answer all along was "neither." In fact, Maggette was so done as a player that he promptly retired after the Spurs cut him. Curry, meanwhile, performed quite well during camp and preseason but was nevertheless cut and signed a week later with the Mavericks. He lasted two games in Dallas before they dumped him, and hasn't played in the league since.
Though the Spurs have a reputation for salvaging reclamation projects, to say that you should be skeptical that they have any serious aspirations with Beasley is to do a disservice to the word "skeptical." Pop has an oft-stated mantra of "you are who you are," and I doubt very sincerely if his ego is such that he thinks he can redeem Beasley where countless quality coaches and organizations could not. If Spoelstra, James, Dwyane Wade and Pat Riley couldn't fix him, it's probable he's simply not fixable.