The Pistons aren’t done constructing their roster after all.
They’re adding forward Michael Beasley, who agreed to a one-year, non-guaranteed deal, league sources confirmed to The Detroit News. Shams Charania of The Athletic was first to report the agreement on Saturday night.
The veteran-minimum deal wouldn’t become guaranteed unless Beasley makes the regular-season roster. The Pistons have 14 guaranteed contracts on the roster and added big man Christian Wood on a non-guaranteed deal last month. The final roster spot could be a decision between Wood and Beasley.
Beasley, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 draft, could help the Pistons’ depth at small forward, with few experienced options on the roster before they enter training camp in the fall. Beasley, though, is facing a five-game suspension for violating the NBA’s anti-drug policy.
Charania reported that the suspension came after an early-season sabbatical that Beasley took after he was released by the Lakers, when his mother was sick. Beasley played 26 games with the Lakers and was traded to the Clippers at the deadline but was later waived. He played the remainder of the season with the Guangdong Southern Tigers in China.
"After 5-game suspension from NBA on Thursday for failed drug test from last fall, Michael Beasley plans to sign deal that gives him legitimate opportunity to make Pistons roster,” Charania wrote on Twitter.
Last season, Beasley posted 7 points and 2.3 rebounds in 10.7 minutes. He shot just 18 percent on 3-pointers and 49 percent from the field in a logjam of forwards with the Lakers. He had a resurgent season with the Knicks in 2017-18, posting 13.2 points and 5.6 rebounds in 74 games, including 30 starts.
The Pistons are taking a low-risk chance that Beasley can get back to that level, rather than a slide that looks headed for another stint in China next season, unless he makes the Pistons’ roster.
During his 11 NBA seasons, Beasley has had several incidents involving marijuana, including an arrest of suspected possession in Scottsdale, Ariz., after a traffic stop in 2013. Beasley then was playing for the Phoenix Suns and was released before signing with the Miami Heat prior to the next season.
Beasley had a good start to his career, after being drafted second overall by the Heat in 2008 out of Kansas State. He averaged 13.9 points and 5.4 rebounds in his rookie season and was selected to first-team all-rookie that year.
He followed with 14.8 points and a career-best 6.4 rebounds in his second year; he had his best production in 2010-11, after he was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves for two second-round draft picks and cash consideration. That season, he posted 19.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and shot 37 percent on 3-pointers in 73 starts.
The Pistons are hoping that Beasley can return to that form, even as he enters his 30s. It will be his eighth team, including a couple stints with the Heat. He’s had success in a few stretches playing in China, including being named the international MVP in 2016.
After trading for Tony Snell just prior to the draft, the Pistons have just one small forward with experience on the roster. They dealt both Stanley Johnson and Reggie Bullock at the trade deadline and finished the season with a three-guard rotation, utilizing Bruce Brown as an outsized defender in the playoffs.
With Beasley’s size, they could have another option, provided he makes the roster. If he doesn’t make the roster, the Pistons could stay with Wood, who could provide big minutes as a backup center behind Andre Drummond.