MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ The Miami Heat just cleared a little more room for LeBron James.
A person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press late Thursday night that the Heat have agreed to send forward Michael Beasley to the Timberwolves for Minnesota’s 2011 second-round pick and a swap of future first-round picks. The person requested anonymity because the deal has not been officially announced.
The Heat wanted to clear more cap room when James made his announcement on Thursday night that he was joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. The deal ensures that the Heat can pay all three stars and add some supporting cast to make a run at the title.
Pat Riley definitely has his work cut out for him in that area. With Beasley gone, the Heat now have just one player _ point guard Mario Chalmers _ officially on the roster. James, Bosh and Wade have yet to sign their contracts.
Beasley was the No. 2 overall draft choice in 2008 but hasn’t lived up to the billing yet. He averaged 14.8 points and 6.2 rebounds last season for the Heat.
Beasley said often last season that he didn’t want to be traded, but people close to him indicated that he never fully felt comfortable in Miami.
And he simply never clicked the way the Heat hoped, either.
His departure, which should be finalized on Friday, could open enough room for the Heat to go out and address their most glaring need _ a shooter. It’s believed Mike Miller is at the top of Miami’s wish list, and his acquisition would likely be supported by Wade, who has raved about Miller’s play before.
Beasley’s playing time, especially at the end of games, was often a concern and subject of incessant speculation. The Heat never were really sure what position to use Beasley at, trying him at small forward, power forward and even center. And his stint was marred by two rocky offseasons, first when he was kicked out of the NBA rookie symposium and fined for rulebreaking, then last summer when he received substance-abuse treatment at a facility in Houston.
Before one game late last season, Beasley had John Legend’s song “I Can Change” blaring in the locker room from his iPod, saying it was merely a coincidence and not a hidden message.
“I know I can be a great player at this level,” Beasley said in an interview with The AP during last season’s playoffs. “I’m just not showing it yet. I don’t know why.”
Maybe a change of scenery will serve him well. He comes to a rebuilding Timberwolves team that won just 15 games last season and hasn’t made the playoffs since 2004.
The gamble is small on Minnesota’s part. The Wolves give up a second-round pick and will swap first-rounders with Miami in an unspecified year down the road to land a player who was neck-and-neck with Derrick Rose in the running for the No. 1 overall pick just two years ago.
But Minnesota suddenly has a logjam at power forward with Al Jefferson, Kevin Love and Beasley. They also have agreed to deals with center Darko Milicic and power forward/center Nikola Pekovic, who will come over from Greece.
That means it is highly likely that at least one of those players gets traded before the season begins. Timberwolves president David Kahn has said the team is considering all of its options and no player is untouchable.