Upon coming to Minnesota after a February trade, Malik Beasley joked that the Timberwolves “messed up” by connecting the hotel where he was temporarily living to the practice facility.
Beasley will spend all of his free time working out in a gym if given the choice, so to go over a month without access to facilities has been a bit of an adjustment for him.
“I’ve had my parents try to lock me down from the gym,” Beasley said. “This is their time right now.”
Beasley, the first player the Wolves have made available via teleconference since the NBA postponed it season March 11, has been with his girlfriend and son in Denver while teams have not been allowed to hold workouts or practices amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Like his teammate Karl-Anthony Towns, whose mother Jacqueline died from COVID-19 last week, Beasley recently had a family member die of the illness. He didn’t specify, but said it was a relative on his mother’s side of the family.
“She started off with a cough … then she got worse and got sent to the hospital,” Beasley said. “They put her in a coma and things like that and [she] just didn’t make it, man.
“It’s been tough for all of us as a family, but like I said, the best thing we can do is [try to] prevent that and communicate with each other.”
That’s been easier said than done for the Wolves amid the pandemic, even as they try to stay in touch with each other virtually. But there’s only so much that can be done.
“It’s been terribly difficult,” President Gersson Rosas said. “… We’ve tried really hard, anything and everything that we can to connect with Karl and his family and other players and other staff members that are going through it.
“But it’s not the same. You can’t hug somebody, you can’t spend one-on-one time with them. You can’t help them through this pain in a physical, personal way.”
What happens for the remainder of this season — whether the league decides to play it or postpone it — will have an impact on Beasley and his contract situation. He will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season, however that happens, and Rosas has said the Wolves want Beasley, who came from the Nuggets in the multi-team trade that involved Robert Covington, in their long-term plans.
Beasley was playing the most productive basketball of his career with the Wolves, averaging 20.7 points in 14 games since being traded.
The Wolves would have the right to match any offers that come Beasley’s way and have his Bird Rights, meaning they can exceed the salary cap to sign him, a significant point when the cap may go down because of the loss of revenue from the pandemic.
“Right now it’s tough to decide for anything,” Beasley said. “We don’t even know if we’re playing or not, so it’s just tough to decide that. The best thing right now is, regardless, I have to stay in shape and be ready if this season starts now or if the season is next season. And then I’ll let Gersson decide the rest of that.”
Beasley chuckled as he said that last line.
“We’re big fans of Malik,” Rosas then said. “We paid a very, very strong premium to get him here in Minnesota. But we’re excited. I think the small sample size we saw with him with the Minnesota Timberwolves showed his potential.”