SALT LAKE CITY - Michael Beasley went missing on Thursday night, but not because the Timberwolves forward had been traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.
He remains a Timberwolf for at least the rest of the season after Thursday's trade deadline came and went, but he didn't play against the Jazz because of a sore big toe injured Monday in Phoenix.
"I'm glad I'm here," he said. "More than anything, it has been a hassle. I got a nice house with a lot of things to move. That's just been a headache."
The Wolves, according to league sources, most seriously discussed a three-way trade with Portland and the Lakers that would have sent Beasley to L.A., a first-round pick from the Lakers to the Blazers and brought the Wolves shooting guard Jamal Crawford. But the deal collapsed when the Wolves refused to take back a contract -- most likely Derek Fisher's $3.4 million option for next season -- to save the Lakers luxury-tax payments.
Beasley will become a free agent this summer, most likely an unrestricted one because the Wolves would have to guarantee him a whopping $8 million qualifying offer to keep the right to match any offers he might receive.
"That's really not up to me," Beasley said about his future with the franchise. "I would like to stay here. We all know my contract is expiring. I might need a new contract, can't play for free. That's not up to me."
Wolves coach Rick Adelman and David Kahn, president of basketball operations, met with Beasley after Thursday's 2 p.m. deadline passed. The basic message: Beasley's future is up to him.
"Michael is in more control of his future than even Michael recognizes," Kahn said. "These next six weeks are very important to him. Michael's made tremendous strides this year and I don't think leaguewide people recognize that: He has been much more engaged in practices, much better on the bench, his commitment, everything. He's been incident-free.
"I think it's very important these next six weeks that he continue that path and demonstrate to the league that maybe some of the things people have said about him frankly have been eradicated because I think in large part they have."
In that meeting, Beasley said he wants to play more in his role coming off the bench, and Adelman said he told Beasley that he needs to rebound and defend more consistently to earn that time.
"He's an offensive player, an extremely gifted offensive player, but if that's not going well for him, we still need him engaged in all the other areas," Adelman said. "He's the one guy, especially off the bench, who can really give us a spark these last 20 games."
He said it
Beasley said he's fine with his reserve role, but ...
"I just want to play basketball, that's it," he said. "We all got here playing ball. I just feel like the more I play, the more I produce. Just more time. That's my knack. Just put me on the floor and I make good things happen."
• Believe it or not: Beasley claimed to be unaffected by all the trade talk that swirled around him for weeks. "I don't watch the sports channels or read the newspapers," he said. "I try to stay out of the world."
• Adelman is relieved the trade deadline has passed and Orlando's Dwight Howard stayed put. "That alone is going to be a relief, not having to listen to it," he said.
• The NCAA tournament started Thursday, but Wolves center Nikola Pekovic didn't fill out no stinking bracket. "We don't have that," said Pekovic, who's from Montenegro. "Our universities are only about educating."