Wolves ink Beasley, Milicic, draft pics

Updated: July 12, 2010, 10:34 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

MINNEAPOLIS -- Michael Beasley's off-the-court issues were well-documented. So were his on-the-court talents.

In the end, Minnesota Timberwolves president David Kahn felt the latter far outweighed the former.

The Timberwolves and Heat completed their trade Monday, sending Beasley north to Minnesota for two second-round picks and cash considerations.

"We had to do this," Kahn said Monday night in a conference call from Las Vegas, where the Timberwolves are playing in the summer league. "It just made too much sense."

The Heat made the move to clear cap room to re-sign Dwyane Wade and bring in Chris Bosh and LeBron James. The Heat get Minnesota's second-round picks in 2011 and 2014.

Beasley was a much-celebrated No. 2 overall selection in 2008, getting edged out by Derrick Rose for the top spot in the draft after a brilliant freshman season at Kansas State. But he never seemed to be completely comfortable playing in the shadow of Wade in Miami during a two-year stint that 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 in Houston.

Kahn said the Timberwolves did plenty of homework on Beasley to make sure they were bringing the right kind of player into a very young locker room that currently is devoid of veteran leadership. But he also stressed that the team performs that kind of due diligence for any player it is scouting, not just one with Beasley's baggage.

"He's 21. That's the thing that sometimes gets lost in this," Kahn said. "These kids are all so young and to be thrust into this kind of world is a lot for anybody."

And for all the issues that he has seemingly dealt with in his short career, Beasley has still shown the potential to be an impact player.

"We felt Michael had two very good years in Miami," Heat president Pat Riley said in a statement issued by the team. "We feel he will have a very productive career, and wish him nothing but the best as he moves on."

With their stunning additions of both Bosh and Wade, Riley simply didn't have a choice but to move Beasley, who is under contract for $4.9 million this season with a team option for roughly $6.2 million next year, so he could bring in both Olympians and have more room to sign a supporting cast.

The trade also helped Miami to sign forward Udonis Haslem to a five-year deal on Monday.

Beasley averaged 14.8 points and 6.4 rebounds for the Heat last season, starting all 78 games he played. He topped 25 points in a game seven times and could give the Timberwolves the kind of explosive offensive player they will sorely need if Al Jefferson is indeed traded.

"There should be still a tremendous amount of upside there," Kahn said of Beasley. "We like his versatility and his athleticism. If we do trade Al, he provides some comfort there is some scoring punch in case that occurs."

The Timberwolves also completed the contract for center Darko Milicic and signed rookies Wesley Johnson and Lazar Hayward.

Milicic, the former second overall pick, was planning on returning to play in Europe before a February trade to Minnesota energized his career.

In 24 games with the Timberwolves, Milicic averaged 8.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. The Timberwolves liked the 7-footer's presence on the defensive end and his versatility on offense. They agreed to terms on a four-year deal worth $16 million in guaranteed money earlier this month but could not officially sign the contract until July 8.

The Timberwolves are Milicic's fifth team in seven years.

Johnson was the No. 4 overall draft pick out of Syracuse. The 6-foot-7 forward was the Big East player of the year in his lone season for the Orange. He averaged 16.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks last season.

Hayward was the 30th overall pick from Marquette and came to the Wolves in a trade with Washington. He averaged 13.5 points and 6.6 rebounds in his four-year career.

Terms of the Johnson's and Hayward's deals were not immediately available. Both deals were done in time for the start of Minnesota's summer league play in Las Vegas. The Timberwolves opened play against San Antonio on Monday night.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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