The Minnesota Timberwolves, offered to trade small forward Michael Beasley to the Los Angeles Lakers for a first-round draft pick, but the Lakers rejected, according to ESPN the Magazine's Chris Broussard.
Beasley has been one of the hottest names on the trade rumor mill. (Reuters/Eric Miller)
Beasley is talented and would fill the small forward hole that the Lakers have, but Broussard reports the Lakers don't want to add him because doing so would balloon their luxury taxes. The Lakers are already $18 million over the threshold, and adding Beasley with his $6.2 million contract would mean tacking on $6.2 million more in taxes.
Had the Lakers accepted the deal, though, they would have absorbed Beasley's contract into the $8.9 million trade exception they received from the Dallas Mavericks when Lamar Odom was traded there in December to cut payroll and save money. In return, Minnesota would have gotten the Lakers' best first-round pick in the upcoming draft.
Despite the rejection, the Lakers can still pull the trigger on the same deal, if they change their minds about adding to their luxury taxes, or negotiate with Minnesota for a different one by the March 15 trade deadline. They could offer Pau Gasol, who has been linked to Minnesota in the past, to sweeten things up and possibly save even more money.
Beasley, the second pick in the 2008 draft, is averaging 12.8 points and 5.3 rebounds in less than 26 minutes per game for the Timberwolves. He averaged 19.2 points and 5.6 rebounds last season, having started and appeared in 73 games.
According to Broussard, the Lakers have targeted Beasley since December, despite immaturity issues that have enshrouded his career. And, if their nixed trade for current Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul had actually gone through, they would have subsequently made a trade for Beasley.
With the Lakers out of the picture-for now-the Boston Celtics have emerged. According to Sam Amico of Fox Sports, the Celtics might be looking to make a deal for Beasley that involves sending veteran center Jermaine O'Neal to Minnesota.