The Mutant is back. And he’s here to stay.
What a long winding journey it’s been for the soon-to-be 24-year-old guard, Malik Beasley. After a very successful 1-and-done career at Florida State, he was selected with the 19th pick in the 2016 draft by the Denver Nuggets. The ensuing three seasons saw Beasley buried in the rotation. With a smart front office who continually added quality depth to their team, he was unable to get more than 23.2 MPG in a given season, to no fault of his own. He often showed flashes of hot shooting, mostly during a stretch where their starting SG, Gary Harris, was out for an extended period of time with a hip injury.
However just prior to the 2019-2020 season, his best season to date, Beasley got into an off the court incident with a former Denver Broncos player. It was not a good look. Shortly after that, just over a year ago, Beasley declined a 3-year, $30 million dollar extension to return to the Nuggets. Some will say that it had nothing to do with what happened off the court, nor did it have anything to do with unhappiness in Denver. In fact, many expected him to turn that offer down as it was widely believed he could earn more as he hit restricted free agency. However, after 4 years in the league, the fact still remained that there were a clutter of useful guards on a team that was getting further and further into the playoffs.
There just wasn’t enough room.
Enter: Gersson Rosas and the Minnesota Timberwolves. During what
we I now call The Great Purge of 2020, the Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations rearranged the deck and shipped out the beloved defensive ace, Robert Covington, and acquired Malik Beasley (Among other assets). Was Malik ready to handle a larger and more consistent role? The proof was in his play. Not only did he shoot a scorching hot percentage from perimeter, he set a certain tone within the franchise which had been missing for the better part of a former #1 pick’s tenure here. No excuses. Don’t settle. Work hard. Work every day.
More than just a shooter, @Mbeasy5 is a culture setter and brings an attitude that the Wolves need more of. Looking forward to midnight gym battles between Malik, @theantman05, and @jarrettc08. https://t.co/3G87AwGvWa pic.twitter.com/4ZCGSVU5TV— YoRubio!!!!!!! (@Y0Leo) November 21, 2020
After such a strong showing with his new franchise, many had expected that a new deal could range widely, anywhere from $10M to $15M a year. However, no one expected that something like COVID-19 would hit and play would suspend. Not only would this affect what happened on the basketball court, it affected the Collective Bargaining Agreement as well as league revenue. This meant it was possible for Beasley to have a less competitive market for his services thus resulting in a more team-friendly deal.
Another important recent event occurred with him as well. Much like Mikohagen stated in his recent article, I too am not going to dive deep into this since legal proceedings are set to take place beginning next Monday. But what can be said is that many expected this to impact how much the Wolves would potentially offer him. Malik was in a tough spot personally and financially, so perhaps not even he knew what was in store.
This scenario starting to sound familiar?
He turned down 3/30 with the Nuggets so it's much bigger. Not sure if there is language in the contract about the legal side.— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) November 21, 2020
Gersson Rosas has stated over and over again, he wants to set a culture of family. With this lucrative offer, it’s now very clear that Rosas is placing his trust in Beasley. Not only in his growth on the basketball court, but being there to support him off the court. From a human perspective, that is great news to hear. From a basketball organization’s perspective, it’s not the best news in terms of roster and financial flexibility.
This creates even more of a squeeze in the current logjam that is our backcourt with all of D’Angelo Russell, Ricky Rubio, Josh Okogie, Jarrett Culver, and rookie Anthony Edwards under contract for multiple years. Additionally, our own salary cap guru Dane Moore outlines what the likely scenario was and how our cap sheet now looks.
Why didn't the Timberwolves let Malik Beasley go sign an offer sheet?— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) November 21, 2020
Well, they probably knew one was coming (I'd consistently heard New York). So by agreeing to a deal, they get to set the terms -- no nasty kickers, scales, upfront payments, etc.
Is it still a lot? Kinda. https://t.co/AIXfErlFx6
The offseason is still in full effect and this upcoming season’s iteration of the Timberwolves is still going to change. In the aforementioned article by our partners Denver Stiffs regarding Beasley turning down the 3-year extension, they mention something that may ring true once again this season:
It’s a big year for Malik to prove himself on the court - to show his three point shooting is not a fluke and that he can handle more minutes at both ends.
Indeed it is. By turning down a reported 3-year, $30 million dollar offer from the Nuggets last season, the former Florida State Seminole bet on himself, and the bet paid off handsomely. Now Gersson Rosas and the Minnesota Timberwolves, who made a similar gamble at the trade deadline, are hoping this latest roll of the dice pays off royally.