Timberwolves Introduce Beasley
Michael Beasley Introductory Press Conference
Kahn: Thanks for coming. It's a great day here for all of us here. Michael Beasley is a rare talent. There are not many Michael Beasley's with his kind of skill, athleticism, and I would tell you this: drive to become one of the best players there is in our league. He wants everything and then some and I think he can achieve that here with us at the Minnesota Timberwolves. As I said, though to Michael this morning, provided that he is professional and works hard. He's our first guy to practice and our last guy to leave and accepts the challenge of becoming a team leader, which I think he could also become. So I'm very, very pleased to introduce Michael to you today. As I often do at these things, I'm about ready to stop. I want this to be Michael's conference. I know there are other team matters and team issues that you probably want to discuss with me. I'm happy to do this afterward. But at least during this period of time, please keep it to Michael and Michael alone. I'll let Michael now say a few words and then Sid if you would be so kind as to kick of the questions in just a minute.
Beasley: Hi, I'm Michael Beasley. I just want to say that I'm happy to be here, I'm happy to be a part of a great organization, a rebuilding organization. Happy to be a part of a young team. I'm happy to grow with this young team. And I just want to play basketball. That's it.
Q: Would you have liked to stay in Miami with all those superstars out there?
Beasley: Maybe, I guess. It would've been fun. But we're here now.
Q: What was your immediate reaction when you found out the news you were coming here?
Beasley: A new beginning. I feel like I did good my last 2 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
Q: Reasons they didn't see that in Miami?
Beasley: Umhhh, no. I don't want to say anything I'm going to regret, you know. 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.
Q: 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?
Beasley: People don't know that I'm actually a good guy. I actually love kids and dogs and long walks in the park.
Q: Michael, if there is one thing that seems to be here it is opportunity.
Beasley: Oh, definitely. Like I said it's a young team. We got great young players in 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.
Q: Do you feel you'll be afforded more freedom to be yourself as a person?
Beasley: 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.
Q: What does that mean, leadership to you?
Beasley: 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.
Q: Do you look at yourself as the go-to guy on this team?
Beasley: No. I talked to Coach and we really don't have a go-to guy. We don't have a one, two, or three option. We just want to get out and play team basketball, and whatever happens, happens.
Q: When you talk about joining a rebuilding team, how do you prepare yourself mentally? Knowing that you're coming in to a team with a lot of new parts and not a lot of success this past year.
Beasley: 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.
Q: Do you know anybody on this team?
Beasley: Yes. Me, Kevin Love, Jonny Flynn played the McDonald All-American game together. Wes Johnson, you know we all played up and through high school AAU basketball, McDonald's All-American games, prep school, things like that.
Q: How do you think your former team will do now with LeBron and those guys?
Beasley: Well you know if they can rebuild with the small budget that they got, they should be okay.
Q: Kurt has said and David both that they want to run, be up-tempo, get up and down the floor. Do you think that your talents fit with that?
Beasley: Yeah definitely. I feel like we got all the right tools to do that. We got a great point guard, two great wing players and a great outlet passer.
Q: What do you know about the triangle offense?
Beasley: I know it worked well for Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. Hopefully I can learn it as well as them two.
Q: DO you think the new roster can win a lot more games than they did last year?
Beasley: Definitely. I mean why not? That's the goal, right?
Q: Your new coach, how well do you know him?
Beasley: A couple phone conversations, nothing face-to-face yet. But from what I know, what I've heard, what I've seen, he's a great guy who's all about winning.
Kahn: I'll interject. Michael's going to spend voluntarily next week in Los Angeles with Kurt and some of our other players working out. So next week a week when he'll really be on the court day after day with Kurt.
Q: Where do they do that, David?
Kahn: I think I know which gym will happen, but we'll be in LA.
Q: This has been an unprecedented summer for movement and things happening, just because of free agency. What's your reaction to the number two overall pick of the draft being traded for two second-round picks?
Beasley: 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.
Q: Did it sting you at all?
Beasley: Ummm, yeah, you know. 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.
Q: Did they ever provide any indications to you, whether in post-season evaluations or anything that you weren't going to be a part of that team?
Beasley: No, no. Coach Riley sat me down and told me if this happened, you know, 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.
Q: Going from South Beach to Minnesota, it's a littler different.
Beasley: Ehh it's a little different, little different.
Kahn: It's better.
Q: During the last game for Miami, you didn't play at all in the second-half. How much do you think you have to prove to people?
Beasley: I'm done dwelling on the past. I'm done thinking about games like that. I'm just trying to focus on my game, focus on my teammates' game and just focus on getting better as a team.
Q: Two years ago, when the Timberwolves didn't get the first or second pick, fans were pretty devastated that they didn't get a chance to take you here in Minnesota. They were really looking forward to you, are you looking forward to introducing yourself to them?
Beasley: Oh definitely. I'm excited about the fan base in Minnesota. I'm just excited to play basketball, to show my will, my drive, my personality and just my winning attitude.
Q: How did going through rehab last summer change you and do you feel in any way that the Wolves are taking a gamble?
Beasley: It made me a better person. I went through a tough situation and I think I handled it as best as I can. It was a mistake. I think I learned from it and moved on. Do I think the Wolves are taking a gamble on me? Yeah, definitely, but I believe in myself and I trust in myself to take care of business like I'm supposed to.
Q: Are you at the 4 or do you have some position flexibility?
Beasley: Oh I play whatever you want.
Q: They do have the lowest payrolls in the league right now, about $15, $18 million under the salary cap or about that. Maybe they'll go out and buy some players and give you a better chance to win.
Beasley: Maybe. We're just gonna rebuild and use what we got and make the best of it.
Q: How's it feel to be the highest paid player on the team?
Beasley: It feels pretty good.
Q: David, the challenge to Michael to be a leader, the mentality behind that decision, how do you push him to be where you think he can go?
Kahn: Well, I told Michael today that today is the first day of the rest of his life, which I really do believe. That what's important to me is how he plays and conducts himself and operates here as a Minnesota Timberwolf. We're a lot like Miami in certain ways. We have very strict guidelines, very firm beliefs in hard work and organization and believe that players should be given every opportunity to flourish. That no restrictions should be put on them or their games. But in return, we expect a lot out of them in terms of the way they conduct themselves professionally and the way they work. Michael's a gym rat. I don't think there's any question that he's going to work diligently on becoming the best player he can be, no doubt about that. In fact, if I didn't feel he was a gym rat, we wouldn't have made the trade. And on the other stuff I do believe, based on all the evidence we've seen today, Michael is growing. It's very hard for people in this league to understand this, but these players are still painfully young. 20, 21, 22..and they're entitled to have an opportunity to grow up like the rest of us. Nonetheless, Michael knows he's in a public venue. He's in the public eye. He's in the NBA and he knows he's been in the NBA for 2 years and there are responsibilities that come with that no matter whether you're 18 or 28 or 38. and I believe he understand that and he will be a really good citizen here and that he could develop in time, I'm not saying next week or next month, he could not only be one of our most significant players, but he has a chance to become one of our leaders.
Q: How do you envision you and Kevin Love being able to play together?
Beasley: Easy, I guess. Two big guys that play similar, he's more of a banger than I am. But it should be fun. He's a great player and I'm willing to fit into the system as best I can and we're just going to take it and run with it.
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