PHOENIX -- Tuesday night the Phoenix Suns will pay Michael Beasley more than $42,000 not to play for them. The Suns cut ties with Beasley last August after he was arrested on suspicion of marijuana possession. Already on a short leash after some previous transgressions, the Suns had enough of Beasley and put together a complicated buyout for about $7 million over the next two years.
It was part of a fresh start that franchise was looking for with new general manager Ryan McDonough and coach Jeff Hornacek. Beasley was one of several veterans who were released or traded. It has worked. After going 25-57 last season, the Suns are 30-20 and in playoff position this season.
Beasley, who is playing on a minimum contract with the Heat, is returning to Phoenix at a rough point in the season. He’s fallen out of coach Erik Spoelstra’s rotation.
“We’ve all seen strides in his game on both sides of the floor,” Spoelstra said. “When his number is called, he’ll have to produce to help us win. It was a matter of bringing him back into our family. None of us really wanted to trade Mike. We wanted to get him back.”
After having some bright spots over the first two months of the season, Beasley has only played eight minutes in the past four games as Spoelstra has trimmed his rotation. He’s averaging 8.5 points and has played in 34 games thus far.
“It’s been tough for him because his minutes are different,” Dwyane Wade said of Beasley. “To come into this team and not know your role, it takes mental toughness. We just want him to stay with it.”
When Spoelsta broke down the video of the Heat’s loss to the Jazz on Saturday night he saw some offensive trends he didn’t like. The Heat lead the league in offensive efficiency and shooting, so failing to crack 90 points and shooting just 43 percent in the 94-89 loss to the worst defense in the league was traced to some offensive letdowns.
“Our ratio of layups to jumpers was off in Utah,” Spoelstra said. “It takes energy on that end of the floor to get the shots that you want. On a whole, if we’re shooting 15 layups to 40 jumpers we’re not quite making the second and third efforts that we want. We had 19 assists, 34 points in the paint, that is not enough of our type of game."
Over the last two games, the Heat’s rebounding problems have resurfaced in a big way. They have been outrebounded by the Clippers and Jazz by a combined 83-63. Those numbers aren’t ever concerning to the Heat but this one is: the second-chance points in those games are 40-7 in favor of the Heat’s opponents.
One of the Suns' weaknesses is rebounding so the Heat have a chance to turn it around on Tuesday.
All players took part in practice Monday in Phoenix including Wade. Everyone is expected to be available on Tuesday. The Heat will play their first back-to-back in three weeks Wednesday at Golden State, which could be a litmus test of where Wade is with his knees.