The Heat signed forward Michael Beasley on Thursday, less than 15 hours after Miami scored just 36 points in the first half of an overtime victory against the Orlando Magic. This is Beasley’s third stint with the team that selected him No. 2 overall in the 2008 NBA Draft. He’s expected to play Friday night in New Orleans against the Pelicans.
“It’s like I never left, honestly. I feel great,” said Beasley, 26. “I’m definitely blessed and humbled to have another opportunity.”
Beasley signed a 10-day contract but is expected to remain with the team for the rest of the season. There are 26 games left, and the Heat (25-31) is fighting to remain in the playoff race with Chris Bosh out for the season with blood clots in his lungs. Beasley knows the Heat’s terminology and system and can score with ease. Bosh averaged 21.1 points, and accounting for that loss of offense has been difficult for the Heat.
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“We’re familiar with each other so that makes the process a lot easier,” Beasley said.
Miami has won three of four games since Bosh’s medical scare, and Wednesday’s victory against the Magic was the wildest game of the season. The Heat trailed by seven points with 36.7 seconds left and rallied to send the game into overtime. Miami won 93-90 in the extra period.
“Some of the younger guys mentioned it in the locker room — we said these last two months are like an extended March Madness,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “They came into the locker room and said, ‘You weren’t wrong.’ That was wild and it shows you how much each possession matters throughout the course of the game.”
Beasley joined the Heat Thursday in New Orleans and participated in a voluntary practice. The team announced the roster move on Instagram with a picture of Beasley signing his contract.
Make no mistake, though, signing Beasley was an emergency measure by a team desperate for points and clinging to the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference standings. He could be like a booster shot of offense for the Heat, which was 6 of 31 from three-point range against the Magic.
Beasley most recently played in China this season after failing to catch on with an NBA team over the summer. His second tour with the Heat came last season. Beasley played well offensively at times, shooting 50 percent from the field and 39 percent from three-point range, but on a team filled with veteran scorers, Beasley was used sparingly and sometimes only as an option of last resort.
Beasley owns an apartment in Miami and has been training at AmericanAirlines Arena since the season ended in China. In 37 games with the Shanghai Sharks, he averaged 27.1 points, 10.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.92 steals while shooting 51.3 percent from the floor.
“My game is a lot slower,” Beasley said. “I’m focused on trying to make the whole group better, whoever is on the floor. On both sides.”
The addition of Beasley gives the Heat 13 active players, the maximum teams are allowed in uniform for a game. The Heat recently signed Henry Walker to a 10-day contract, and that move instantly helped the team. Walker made two three-pointers in the final 22 seconds of regulation against the Magic to send that game into overtime.
Coincidentally, Walker and Beasley played together collegiately at Kansas State. The team’s coach was Miami High legend Frank Martin, now coach at South Carolina.
Walker played for the Heat’s D-League team, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, for two seasons before his call-up. Though its players aren’t under contract with the Heat, the Skyforce operates like a traditional minor-league club for Miami. Coaches hired by the Heat use the Heat’s system in Sioux Falls, and that relationship has helped the Heat remain competitive this season despite so many injuries and roster changes.
Walker, rookie Tyler Johnson and rookie Shabazz Napier all played in Sioux Falls this season, and center Hassan Whiteside was scouted by the Skyforce before he signed with the Heat. Walker and Whiteside started their careers in the NBA before dropping to the D-League.
“I think it does something different for everybody,” Walker said of his time in Sioux Falls, “but for me, just being in the system that we had at Sioux Falls was a duplicate of the parent club up here and the same terminology and all of that stuff was an easy transition.”
FRIDAY: HEAT AT PELICANS
When, where: 8 p.m., Smoothie King Center, New Orleans.
TV, radio: ESPN, Sun Sports; 104.3 FM , 790 AM, WAQI 710 AM (Spanish).
Series: Pelicans lead 15-13.
Of note: This is the Heat’s second game against the Pelicans in seven days. New Orleans won the first meeting 105-91 despite losing its two best players, Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson, to injuries during the game. Davis (right shoulder sprain) and Anderson (right MCL sprain) are out.