Archive for Sunday, June 29, 2008

Beasley gives Miami brain trust many options

June 29, 2008

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— Now that the Miami Heat selected forward Michael Beasley with the second overall pick in the NBA Draft, the question shifts to where he might best fit.

It is a dilemma new Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said would be worked out when the team opens training camp in the fall.

Spoelstra insisted that the Heat picked Beasley to keep him - and not to trade him to help fill voids at point guard and center, areas that could be addressed when free agency negotiations begin July 1.

If that is the case, Beasley would join a power rotation that already includes Shawn Marion and Udonis Haslem, two veterans who have been established starters in the league for years.

Room for three

Despite widespread speculation that Marion and Haslem are in play for potential trades, Spoelstra said there is room for all three forwards to thrive in a new up-tempo system.

"I don't really see it as a problem right now," said Spoelstra, Heat president Pat Riley's handpicked successor on the bench. "Those things tend to work themselves out. Right now, we have a roster to fill. So I see a bunch of open spots that we need to put players in there. This league is always about talent."

Asked specifically if he anticipates having Beasley, Marion and Haslem on the roster when camp opens in late September, Spoelstra stood firm.

"As of now, that's how we're moving forward," Spoelstra said.

Odd man out?

Marion's agent, Dan Fegan, believes there is still a chance Marion could be moved to clear the logjam. But it apparently is a problem Miami doesn't mind having for now.

Beasley averaged 26.2 points and an NCAA-best 12.4 rebounds last season, breaking numerous freshman, team and conference records while leading Kansas State to its first NCAA Tournament victory in 20 seasons.

Beasley said his versatility would allow him to fit comfortably alongside Marion and Haslem. Marion, who is 6-7, elected not to opt out of the final season and $17.8 million of his contract, and could either return or be traded. Marion has played both forward positions with the Heat since he was acquired from Phoenix in the Feb. 6 trade of center Shaquille O'Neal.

Haslem, who is 6-8, established his role as the starting power forward during the Heat's 2005-06 championship season. But he also has spent time at center late in games.

Versatile player

"I can play the block with Udonis (and) I can play the wing with Shawn," Beasley said in a conference call with Florida reporters after he was selected. "We can get an inside-outside affect, free up a lot of players."

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