By now, you might have seen the item from ESPN's Chris Broussard regarding the Lakers' reported interest in Michael Beasley. If not, per Broussard:
The Lakers' front office knows Kobe Bryant is looking for it to improve the roster, and GM Mitch Kupchak has been working the phones. He's spoken to Minnesota about Michael Beasley, and sources say the Lakers are intrigued by the Timberwolves' small forward. The Lakers were actually in discussions with Minnesota about a potential trade for Beasley before the season started. If they would have been able to pull off the deal for Chris Paul, there is a good chance that a trade for Beasley would have followed. It's not clear what the Lakers would give Minnesota for Beasley (if indeed the talks get that far), but the Lakers could absorb Beasley into their $8.9 million trade exception while giving up a draft pick or cash. I'm told the teams have not spoken about Pau Gasol since the preseason. Minnesota is looking to move Beasley, who they feel has matured very little (if at all) since he's been there, according to sources. The Lakers believe they can handle a player like Beasley because of their winning culture and the leadership of Bryant.
Lots of interesting stuff in there, though it shouldn't be a shock that the Wolves would want to move Beasley. Before playing 33 minutes the other night -- likely influenced by the fact that Nikola Pekovic left early with a sprained ankle -- Beasley hadn't topped 19 minutes for three consecutive games. While he remains an intriguing option as a bench scorer, his inconsistency and style don't seem to make him a long-term piece of Rick Adelman's puzzle. We would say that it would be a mistake for the Wolves to just dump him because we think Beasley does have value.
The larger point of intrigue we have is what exactly the Lakers might see in Beasley. And the best answer we can find is another name: Lamar Odom, the longtime Lakers forward who is now in Dallas.
Odom played for two teams (Clippers and Heat) before coming to the Lakers in 2004. Beasley has played with two teams so far in his young career (Wolves and Heat). Odom got the early label as an immensely talented player who needed some on-court discipline and who ran afoul of some rules regarding recreational herbal entertainment. That pretty much describes Beasley. All of it.
True, they are somewhat different players -- Beasley is more of a pure scorer, while Odom always had a knack for passing as well as scoring -- but they have similar bodies and similar versatility at the forward spot. What Odom got with the Lakers was a reduced role that he thrived in; after taking 13 shots per 36 minutes early in his career, he settled into more of a 10-11 shots role per 36 with L.A. and upped his rebounding considerably. Beasley heaved up 19 shots per 36 minutes last season and is still at 16.4 this year. Would he ever accept -- and thrive in -- a system where he was asked to do more things, a la Odom, rather than just gun? Hard to say. But we do wonder if that's what the Lakers -- if the report is true -- see in him.