Q&A with Michael Beasley
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MINNEAPOLIS -- David Kahn delivered a clear message to newly acquired forward Michael Beasley in their first face-to-face meeting on Thursday morning.
Beasley is a rare talent. He has the skill, athleticism and drive to become one of the NBA's best.
But it only will happen if he's nothing like the Michael Beasley that underwhelmed for two seasons after the Miami Heat drafted him No. 2 overall.
"I told Michael today that today is the first day of the rest of his life, which I really do believe," Kahn said later, with Beasley sitting to his left at an introductory media conference in the bowels of Target Center.
"That what's important to me, is how he plays and conducts himself and operates here as a Minnesota Timberwolf."
Here are some highlights from what Beasley had to say during his time with reporters on Thursday:
Would you have liked to stay in Miami with all those superstars (LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh) out there?
"Maybe, I guess. It would've been fun. But we're here now."
What was your immediate reaction when you found out the news?
"A new beginning. I feel like I did good my last two years in the NBA playing for Miami, but I feel there's a lot that the world don't know about me. A lot of my game hasn't been shown. A lot of my personality hasn't been shown. I feel like this is a new beginning and a fresh start, and I'm just ready to start my life."
Are there reasons they didn't see that in Miami?
"Um, no. I don't want to say anything I'm going to regret. Miami, they have a special way of doing things. They just didn't need what I had to offer at the time with Dwayne Wade on the floor and guys like Jermaine O'Neal. You got a lot of NBA All-Stars on the floor, and I guess it just wasn't my turn."
You said there's a lot about your personality the world doesn't know. For instance? Can you put a little light on that, things people don't know about your personality?
"People don't know that I'm actually a good guy. I actually love kids and dogs and long walks in the park. "
If there is one thing that seems to be here, it is opportunity ...
"Oh, definitely. Like I said, it's a young team. We got great young players in Wesley Johnson">Wesley Johnson, Jonny Flynn and Kevin Love. Darko Milicic, a big banger on the inside. We're young. We got all the room in the world to grow. We got a lot of room for error. We'll learn, and we just gotta make the best of it."
Do you feel you'll be afforded more freedom to be yourself as a person?
"Definitely. I feel like being such a young team, forcing me to grow up and become one of the leaders on and off the court."
What does that mean, leadership to you?
"Just means doing the right thing on and off the court. Whether it's being early to practice or early to a dinner. It doesn't matter -- it's just conducting yourself in a professional manner."
Do you look at yourself as the go-to guy on this team?
"No. I talked to Coach (Rambis), and we really don't have a go-to guy. We don't have a (number) one, two or three option. We just want to get out and play team basketball, and whatever happens, happens."
When you talk about joining a rebuilding team, how do you prepare yourself mentally?
"You gotta work. You gotta rebuild. It's gonna be hard and we all know that it's gonna be a lot of work. But it's gotta be done."
Do you think the new roster can win a lot more games than they did last year?
"Definitely. I mean why not? That's the goal, right?"
What's your reaction to the No. 2 overall pick of the draft being traded for two second-round picks?
"It's life. This game is a business. Miami had to do what they needed to do. They wanted one big free agent or two, and they got all the free agents. You gotta clear some small things to get the big things in and I'm ok with that. Like I said, it is a business and I'm prepared to start my new career as a Timberwolf."
Did it sting you at all?
"I think naturally, yes. You get traded and the first thing you think is, 'What did I do wrong? Am I not good enough?' You just gotta be a man about it and just forget about it. Move on."
Did they ever provide any indications to you, whether in postseason evaluations or anything, that you weren't going to be a part of that team?
"No, no. Coach (Pat) Riley sat me down and told me if this happened ... and at the time. we all thought the 'Big 3' was just a myth. Never in a million years I thought it was going to happen. Coach Riley let me know if he had a chance to get LeBron James or Chris Bosh, it could happen. So, I was sort of prepared for it, but it happened, and I'm a Timberwolf now."