In mid-May, Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby and newly hired General Manager Ryan McDonough met with power forward Michael Beasley to lay out expectations for the summer.
Beasley could not last three months before he let the Suns down again. His on-court regression might have been enough to cut ties, but an early August arrest for marijuana possession in his car was intolerable.
Faced with owing him $9 million of guaranteed contract, the Suns escaped the failed Beasley experiment with a buyout Tuesday that emphasizes a character standard which was overlooked last year and saves the club $2 million in salary and even more in cap hits for the next two years..
The buyout, along with the ability to spread next year’s salary, creates $1.4 million in cap space this year (now about $6.7 million of total space) and $2.2 million more next year.
“We’re going to require that they adhere to the highest standards of personal conduct and that’s important to communicate to the younger players, community and organization,” Babby said. “We worked hard to devote ourselves to Michael’s sucess but we have to maintain the standards to build a championship culture.”
The Suns made Beasley, 24, their free agency priority in July of 2012. Only Detroit had showed some interest in him but the Suns were the first to offer a three-year, $18 million contract. After Beasley had disappointed Miami and Minnesota in his first four NBA seasons, the Suns’ hopes were that they could be the team to change him and tap into the potential that made him a No. 2 overall pick in 2008.
But Beasley ended with career lows for points per game (10.1), rebounds per game (3.8) and field goal shooting (40.5 percent) and had lots of defensive lapses.
Beasley was previously under Scottsdale police’s investigation for a sexual assault accusation during the season. Two weeks later, he was cited for speeding, driving on a suspended license and driving without a plate or registration.
Beasley had been in a rehabilitation center in 2009 and arrested for marijuana possession in 2011.
• Boston Celtics forward Jared Sullinger pleaded not guilty Tuesday to domestic violence-related charges after allegedly repeatedly pinning his girlfriend to a bed and the floor.
Bail for Sullinger, 21, was set at $5,000. In a statement through the Celtics, he apologized and called the experience “humbling and embarrassing.”
• The Toronto Raptors waived swingman Quentin Richardson on Tuesday, after he was acquired in a trade with the Knicks.