Despite being a beneficial pickup by the Minnesota Timberwolves during this year’s NBA trade deadline, Malik Beasley’s time with Minnesota may well be over as he heads into the offseason as a restricted free agent. Minnesota has the option of extending a qualifying offer to Malik Beasley worth $3.8 million, which will likely be exceeded by other teams looking to utilize his services next season.
Despite that, the 23-year old has played well beyond his contractual value of only $2.7 million during the 2019-20 season. After being traded from the Denver Nuggets to Minnesota, Beasley saw a dramatic bump in minutes as he became a starter. Before being traded, he only averaged 18.2 minutes per game, which skyrocketed to 33.1 minutes upon landing in Minnesota. That boost in minutes saw him average 20.7 points per game compared to the meager 7.9 points per game that he put up with Denver.
While the Timberwolves would obviously welcome Beasley back due to the ridiculous bargain they obtained him on for his services, they’ll also be looking to make logical moves that can put them in the best position to become a legitimate threat in the Western Conference, which can be beneficial in swaying both Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell’s thoughts of wanting to move on from Minnesota.
With that, here are three possible destinations for Malik Beasley ahead of free agency.
3. New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans will be looking to build a successful contender around their young core of Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball. They’ve also got some decent, young talent with Jaxson Hayes and Josh Hart. If that’s the direction that the front office and head coach Stan Van Gundy are looking to go, Beasley could be a unique upgrade to their backcourt with Ball.
Ball’s a playmaking guru that truly plays only to make his teammates look better, which in terms further cements the hype that was infused into him prior to being taken with the No.2 pick in a stacked 2017 draft. Adding a scoring machine in Beasley just gives Ball another option in terms of firepower, a category that the Pelicans currently lack in. While Jrue Holiday has been productive during his time in New Orleans, it hasn’t generated much success in the long game.
Ball is undoubtedly their point guard for the foreseeable future, signaling that the Pelicans are perfectly fine with going young. Going from 30-year old Holiday to a 23-year old Beasley will help shore of the Pelicans’ youth while building chemistry that’ll be sustainable for the long term.
2. Atlanta Hawks
The immediate direction for the Hawks in the offseason is unknown. What is certain though, is that they posses a roster full of talented, young players that’ll only get better with time. Beasley fits the mold in terms of what the Hawks will be aiming for in the considerable future. A vast majority of their players are either 24 or younger, making them one of the more youthful, if not the youngest team in the NBA.
Malik Beasley would be paired with Trae Young in the backcourt, which would add some reasonable size and athleticism . He could also be switched to the 3-spot for Cam Reddish on slow nights, given his shot-creation abilities along with the fact that he’s a capable defender.
This move doesn’t make the Hawks a title contender by any means, which isn’t what the Hawks are likely going for with a roster full of primarily young players that still need to develop. It does, however, lock up another building block for them for the future. For Beasley, he could cement his legacy alongside Young in A-town versus becoming a journeyman.
1. Toronto Raptors
If Fred VanVleet elects to take his talents elsewhere due to the Raptors unwillingness to match a high offer, Beasley could definitely be a considerable replacement. The Raptors have a lot of decisions to make this offseason with multiple players testing the waters in free agency. If the cards fall right, Beasley could wind up being Pascal Siakam’s co-star talent in Toronto for the long haul.
Head coach Nick Nurse has committed to the development of Siakam, who recently signed a max contract extension. With Lowry entering his mid-30’s, the Raptors are surely surveying the field for another cornerstone to take their franchise into the next ten years with Siakam.
Malik Beasley would thrive in a Nurse system that is full of on-the-fly, interchangeable defensive schemes in the blink of an eye. Lowry would also be eager to get Beasley going on offense, allowing him to not be limited to solely relying on Siakam for his post presence on most plays.