Report: Lakers thought Michael Beasley could replace Julius Randle’s production as small-ball center

Michael Beasley
Dec 12, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle (30) and New York Knicks forward Michael Beasley (8) battle for a loose ball during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

With the Los Angeles Lakers season going up in flames, the blame game has firmly taken over the discourse around the team. Much of that blame has gone towards the front office whose peculiar offseason signings have not worked out as rotation pieces around LeBron James and the growing young core.

One of the more egregious decisions the Lakers made was letting Brook Lopez sign with the Milwaukee Bucks after having already lost Julius Randle to the New Orleans Pelicans. According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne (appearing on the Mason and Ireland Show), that decision was based around Michael Beasley. Yes, you heard that right. (h/t Christian Rivas of Silver Screen and Roll)

“They let Brook Lopez go, the idea being they chose Michael Beasley over him — which to me is fairly unforgivable — because they had already lost Julius Randle, and they felt that Beasley had a similar skillset to be a small-ball five as Julius Randle did last year when he was a small-ball five with that second unit and sometimes with the first. So they felt like Beasley’s skillset would replace (that).”

Not only did Beasley shockingly not achieve the goals the Lakers front office believed he could, but he barely played for the Lakers (through no fault of his own).

Beyond how asinine it was to ever think Beasley could replace Randle, who was arguably the Lakers’ best player last season, the frustrating aspect of this whole story is that the Lakers had countless chances to correct their mistakes and failed to do so.

They could have re-signed Randle but let him walk after he requested they renounce his rights due to feeling like he was not a priority. Randle is averaging 20.8 points and 8.7 rebounds per game in NOLA.

They could have re-signed Brook Lopez but chose to pursue Michael Beasley instead. Lopez is averaging 12.4 points while hitting 36.6 percent of his 6.4 3-point attempts per game in Milwaukee.

They waived Thomas Bryant, at the time a raw project that had barely seen any playing time. Bryant is averaging 9.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game and hitting 35.4 percent of his own 3-pointers.

Even when they lucked into Ivica Zubac peaking at the perfect time and winning the starting center spot from JaVale McGee and Tyson Chandler, they shipped him off for a stretch-big who has made five 3-pointers in eight games for the Lakers.

Meanwhile, the Lakers trade of D’Angelo Russell has effectively only netted them Josh Hart and cap space that could go to waste if they are unable to hit in free agency this summer.

It has become increasingly apparent that not only have the results from the Lakers front office been disastrous, but the process to reach them has been riddled with comical errors. The Lakers have LeBron James and a burgeoning young core, but without a solid front office to pull the strings, it is one of the more precarious situations in the league.

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