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After spending one season with the New York Knicks, Michael Beasley signed a one-year, $3.5 million free-agent deal with the Los Angeles Lakers this summer, reuniting him with LeBron James.
Beasley and James were teammates during the 2013-14 season with the Miami Heat. The former No. 2 overall pick says he’s at a different point in his career now from when he first played with James in South Beach.
“I played with LeBron the first time when I was 24 years old,” Beasley told Leo Sepkowitz of Bleacher Report. “I was at a different point in my career. The only thing that mattered to me was minutes. Now I know what I do, what I bring to the table, and LeBron does, too. I’m coming to help the team potentially make the playoffs, coming to play basketball the right way. Whatever happens after that, I can live with.”
Beasley was productive in his lone season with the Knicks. In 74 games, Beasley averaged 13.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists, shooting 50.7 percent from the field and 39.5 percent from three.
Along with Beasley, the Lakers also signed Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson and JaVale McGee after agreeing to a deal with James. Many believe the Lakers’ roster is nowhere near ready to compete for a championship in the rugged Western Conference and that Los Angeles might even struggle to make the playoffs, considering James is surrounded by a lot of young players and guys who don’t really fit well next to him.
Beasley, though, is confident things will work out in the Lakers’ favor.
“I think we’re a team that will be able to decide our own fate by how hard we work and how much we’re willing to sacrifice physically and mentally,” Beasley told Bleacher Report. “I’m not going to put my foot in my mouth and say we’re going to win 25 championships or 75 games, no. But I’m confident that we got a group of guys that wants to play basketball the right way, wants to win and work hard. With that being said, I think we can be exactly where we want to be at the end of the year.”
When James signed his four-year deal with the Lakers, Beasley admits he crossed L.A. off his list of teams because he didn’t think president of basketball operations Magic Johnson or general manager Rob Pelinka would be interested in him.
“Honestly, when LeBron went to Los Angeles, I really just crossed L.A. out in my mind,” Beasley told Bleacher Report. “With the young core they have, the roster is stacked, so I was just like, ‘Aight, well, that might be another boat I missed.’ But my agent had something up his sleeve.”
The 29-year-old scoring forward, who has career averages of 12.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 583 NBA games, didn’t expect James to sign with the Lakers in the first place.
“A little piece of me didn’t think he’d leave Cleveland, but every time I make a [prediction] like that, it’s always the opposite,” Beasley told Bleacher Report. “I didn’t think he was gonna leave Cleveland, so I knew he was gonna leave Cleveland. I 100 percent didn’t think L.A. I thought the Philly situation made sense. Teams that already had things in place to win the championship made sense. But when you listen to him speak and watch him play, and you watch how every team he brought to the Finals was all him making the situation 100 times better, it makes sense now.”