Beasley Excited for Fresh Start With Suns
Seconds after the clock struck midnight and free agency began on July 1, the Phoenix Suns contacted Michael Beasley and scheduled a meeting with the unrestricted free agent. The Suns didn’t waste any time making their interest known and they were the first team to contact the forward.
After meeting with Beasley on two separate occasions, once in Los Angeles and once in Phoenix, the two sides agreed to a three-year deal worth $18 million. The Suns officially signed Beasley last month and the 23-year-old believes the change of scenery will allow him to further his development as a player.
“This is a new beginning for me in Phoenix,” Beasley said. “I’m excited. The Suns are a great fit for me. They look to get out and run some, which I’m accustomed to doing. The fans have embraced me and I look forward to contributing this season.”
Beasley, the second overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, has had two-year stints with the Miami Heat and Minnesota Timberwolves. Last season, he averaged 11.5 points and 4.4 rebounds in 47 games as a reserve for the Timberwolves. Now, he’s looking forward to playing a larger role in Phoenix.
Beasley has been training in Los Angeles this offseason, doing two-a-days and adding muscle. Not only has he been working in the gym on a daily basis, he has also been doing yoga, ballet, Shotokan karate and jujitsu to prepare for the upcoming season. He has already gained five pounds of muscle this summer, and he’s working hard to improve his post game and midrange jumper. Beasley is extremely focused entering his fifth season in the league and he can’t wait to see his hard work pay off.
“After the 2012 season ended, a new season started for me,” Beasley said. “My goal was to improve the areas of my game that I know I could be more effective in. I wasn’t going to let the free agency process distract me. My mind frame is just to get better and stronger. This offseason is like a timeout; it’s just a few minutes to regroup, draw a few plays up and then it’s time to execute.”
The Suns believe that Beasley can be a significant contributor as they compete for a playoff spot in the Western Conference. There has been plenty of changeover in Phoenix, but with the additions of up-and-coming players like Beasley, Goran Dragic, Kendall Marshall and Wes Johnson, the future seems bright. Suns head coach Alvin Gentry, general manager Lance Blanks and president of basketball operations Lon Babby are excited to see what Beasley can do in Phoenix.
“You can give him the ball and he either makes the shot or he makes the play that gets someone the shot,” Gentry said during Beasley’s introductory press conference. “We need that person. It’s very seldom that you are able to acquire someone with the talent level of Michael.”
“I’m as excited as I’ve ever been in my whole career to welcome this young man into our organization,” Blanks said. “We need talented basketball players, and you can argue all you want, but this is one of the most talented players in the league right now. We need talented players as we move into a new era for the organization.”
“Michael was the very first person that we visited at the earliest possible moment to begin our free agency process,” Babby said. “He was a high priority for us and we are thrilled and delighted that he’s going to be a part of our new beginning in Phoenix as we move forward.”
Not only has Beasley been busy in the gym, he has been very active in the community this summer. In Minnesota, he sponsored fundraisers including movie nights, bowling nights and lunch-ins. Now, he has been focusing his attention on the Michael Beasley Basketball Academy, a nation-wide tour that will help inner-city children and run through the end of the year. Coaches will travel from city to city, helping kids build skill and character with instructional stations, competitions and games. This week, Beasley is in New York City for the tour’s second stop and he’s thrilled with how the program has come together.
“Growing up, it was important for me to improve as a person and that reflected on the court,” Beasley said. “I wanted to essentially help kids do the same in different cities and give them an experience. That’s why I started the Michael Beasley Basketball Academy tour. I feel this gives them hope and strength.”
This is a fresh start for Beasley, who’s looking forward to turning over a new leaf in Phoenix and realizing his full potential on the up-and-coming Suns.