PHOENIX, Ariz. — The plan this season always included Michael Beasley.
With a new general manager and head coach coming on board, the Phoenix Suns were willing to give the young, talented forward a fresh start.
The team’s top free agent target in the 2012 offseason, Beasley was a disappointment a season ago both on the court — where he averaged 10.1 points and 3.8 rebounds in 75 games — and off, where he twice ran into trouble with the law.
“He was the first one to admit that he did some things wrong last year in terms of not playing as a team and being selfish. He had told me that he’s trying to change that,” said head coach Jeff Hornacek, remembering their conversation from last summer.
The Kansas State product, who had signed a three-year, $18 million contract, was given a second chance.
But there would be no third chance.
In early August, he blew that second chance with the Suns.
Eight weeks before the start of training camp, eight weeks before Hornacek could see whether the plays he had drawn up for the then-24-year-old would work, Beasley was arrested on suspicion of marijuana possession after being stopped for a traffic violation in Scottsdale.
The Suns ended the relationship the following month, waiving the troubled forward on Sept. 3.
“I don’t think about how things went down or anything like that,” Beasley said Monday. “I’m in a great situation now. All I can do is look forward.”
Beasley now comes off the bench for the Miami Heat. He and the two-time defending champions are in town to play the Suns on Tuesday, marking the 25-year-old forward’s first return to the Valley.
“I don’t think about it. I don’t talk it. What happened, happened. That’s all it is,” he said on the Suns practice court. “Like I said, I’m in a great situation — around some great guys, just getting better every day.”
So, are there regrets with how things ended after just one season in Phoenix?
“Um, no, no, no,” he said. “Like I said, I’m in a perfect situation to better myself as a person, better myself as a basketball player and to win a ring in the process.”
The Heat made Beasley the No. 2 overall pick in 2008, so it was easy — relatively — to welcome him back, as the team signed him to a non-guaranteed deal.
“For us, it was all a matter of bringing somebody back into our family. We drafted him. It’s always different when you draft somebody,” head coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We felt the connection with Michael.
“He’s ready to help us when his number is called.”
Beasley is averaging 8.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in 15.4 minutes in 34 appearances, though he has not played the past two contests.
“Any chance you get to be around a group of guys of this stature, guys that played in this league at the highest level for years upon years, it’s definitely great. It’s definitely a blessing,” he said. “I’m just taking it in, learning from everybody and just trying to get better.”
Hornacek added some positive remarks on how all parties have moved on since Beasley was waived.
“He’s done a nice job for Miami. It was just a situation that happened here…that it was probably best for all parties to just part ways.
“I’m glad that he is doing well there.”