Lakers chose Michael Beasley over Brook Lopez in hopes of a Julius Randle-like center
When the Los Angeles Lakers signed LeBron James to a four-year, $153.3 million deal last summer, one of their main goals was to preserve cap space for next season, so they decided to let guys like Julius Randle, Brook Lopez, and Thomas Bryant go, and instead, decided to sign veterans like Michael Beasley to one-year deals.
With Randle and Lopez taking their talents elsewhere, the Lakers were in need of someone who can protect the paint. However, they would also like to play a lot of small-ball, leading them to Beasley.
Now, before you roll your eyes and question the front office for this signing, it is worth noting that Beasley had a great stint with the New York Knicks prior to this season. He was seemingly on his way to rejuvenating his career after averaging 17 points in 2017-18. This led to the Lakers deciding to bring him on board.
According to Ramona Shelbourne on ESPN LA’s “Mason and Ireland,” one of the reasons why the Lakers decided to sign Beasley was because the franchise thought he could be a replacement for Randle, as they believed they both had similar skillsets.
As transcribed by Reddit user LonzoBBBall:
“They let Brook Lopez go, the idea being they chose Michael Beasley over him — which to me is fairly unforgivable — because they had already lost Julius Randle, and they felt that Beasley had a similar skillset to be a small-ball five as Julius Randle did last year when he was a small-ball five with that second unit and sometimes with the first. So they felt like Beasley’s skillset would replace (that).”
But one major difference between the two, which the Lakers failed to realize is that Randle is a natural power forward, while Beasley is more of a small forward. He obviously struggled when the Lakers forced him to play like a big man.
In addition, Beasley hasn’t been with the team that much this season, as he spent time being with his mother, who eventually passed away after losing her fight with cancer.
Beasley then returned in January and seemed to be performing a bit well when the Lakers allowed him to play his natural position. But the constant losing caused the veteran forward to be frustrated. He reportedly had a shouting match with head coach Luke Walton and was later traded to the L.A. Clippers, who then waived him.
Now, Randle, Lopez, and Bryant are having solid seasons with their respective teams, and with Beasley gone, the Lakers ended up letting those players walk away for nothing.