It appeared that the Los Angeles Clippers have dedicated themselves to a healthy locker room environment.
They passed on Lamar Odom and went with an older, smaller and defensively liable Antawn Jamison. Odom has turned his back on the game, and the Clippers made the safe choice to avoid the drama surrounding him. However, despite being near the end of his his prime, Odom can still play. Jamison is past his.
Choosing between sobriety, condition and Father Time is more difficult than it sounds. One can become sober overnight and eventually get in shape. Aging is irreversible. The Clippers opted not to wait on Odom and get back to the business of basketball.
24-year-old former lottery pick Michael Beasley was released by the Phoenix Suns. The 6-foot-9 forward is immensely talented. He can score with his back to the basket and stretch the defense with a feathery touch from mid-range and beyond. Beasley is such a natural that he’s often labeled as lazy, or lacking urgency. He’s an effortless scorer and a capable rebounder. And now, he’s a member of the two-time NBA champion Miami Heat.
Beasley was released by the Suns for violating the team’s substance abuse policy again. His drug of choice, marijuana, is legal in many states, but serious enough that the organization saw fit to throw him and the $9 million owed to him out the door. Beasley spent two days unemployed was a perfect fit for the Clippers. He’s so young that his mental and physical development is inevitable.
With Clippers head coach Doc Rivers calling the shots and point guard Chris Paul making the game seem seamless to Beasley, he was a risk worth taking.
Yet, Beasley is a member of the Heat. The same same team the resurrected the career of Chis “Birdman” Andersen, who had struggles with substance abuse of his own. Beasley signed an incentive-laden deal worth $1.2 million with the Heat — $2 million less than Jamison.
The signing of Beasley was a low-risk, championship reward for the Heat. How did the Clippers miss this one?
ChristopherBrown is an NBA writer for Rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @whatrockschris. Like him on Facebook.