Insider: Michael Beasley & The Magic?
The Orlando Magic are clearly trying to make a big splash before the trade deadline in an effort to not only impress Dwight Howard, but to make the Magic a legitimate championship contender. Despite defeating the team with the league's best record, the Chicago Bulls, on Thursday night, the Magic currently have too many deficiencies to be considered a true contender.
Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash and Golden State Warriors guard Monta Ellis have the names most often connected with the Magic. As we move closer to the trade deadline (its not just six days away), those scenarios just don't seem realistic - the Warriors do want to trade Ellis, among others, but they want Howard in return and Steve Nash seems content with finishing this season and possibly the rest of his career in Phoenix.
An interesting name that has recently been connected with the Magic and has seemingly been on the market all season is Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley.
Its no secret that Minnesota is likely to trade Michael Beasley, with the most interested potential suitors being the Boston, the Lakers and Orlando. The Magic are pursuing multiple avenues in an attempt to improve the team in the hopes that a long playoff run could persuade Howard to stay. If Orlando holds off on trading Howard at the deadline, sources say Beasley could be a viable piece for the Nets to add as they try to upgrade their talent to make the team more attractive to Howard and Deron Williams.
Whispers around the league have suggested Beasley wouldn't be especially difficult to acquire - the Timberwolves would like to move the former second overall pick in part to make more time for the second overall pick in last year's draft, forward Derrick Williams.
Beasley, who is no longer a starter, is playing 24.3 minutes per game this year. He's scoring 11.9 points per game on just 44.3% shooting from the field, but is shooting a career-high 42.4% from beyond the arc. He's also grabbing 4.8 rebounds per game.
Although Beasley has been a headcase at times and hasn't proven he can consistently contribute to a team with title aspirations(or any team for that matter), he's an intriguing prospect. The talent is there - Beasley is one of the greatest college basketball players of all time and was the second overall pick of the 2008 NBA draft.
(Andrew Melnick is the ESPNFlorida.com Magic and NBA Insider, co-host of the ESPN 1080 Insiders Show and publisher of Howard the Dunk. The Insiders Show can be heard Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST on AM 1080 in Orlando and on ESPNFlorida.com. You can follow Andrew on twitter here.)