Beasley Smoked Too Much Marijuana in Miami: Will It Catch Lebron?

23 Jul 2010

In a jarring interview with ESPN Radio in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Timberwolves general manager David Kahn explained that once-touted forward Michael Beasley, who Kahn traded for earlier this month, struggled in Miami because he “smoked too much marijuana” while playing for the Heat, but has since quit.

The Heat dumped Beasley for nothing but two future second-round draft picks in order to clear the books in advance of the acquisition of LeBron James and Chris Bosh and the re-signing of Dwyane Wade. Beasley, the No. 2 pick of the 2008 draft, has struggled to transition to NBA play, never meshing with the superlative Wade in Miami.

Beasley had trouble before even playing a minute in the league, as he was involved in an odd marijuana-related incident at the requisite Rookie Transition Program in September 2008, one which left Beasley with a $50,000 fine and a one-way ticket into the league’s substance abuse program. Further issues led Beasley to a 30-day stint in rehab before his second NBA season.

In an interview with FanHouse’s Tim Povtak in December 2009, Beasley acknowledged prior problems with alcohol, and beamed that he hadn’t drank alcohol since August 2009. Never did Beasley admit to marijuana usage publicly, and never did the league — which maintains a strict policy of confidentiality about such matters — announce that Beasley had ever flunked a drug test. A second failed test for marijuana while one is already in the league’s substance abuse program comes with a mandated five-game suspension; Beasley has never been suspended by the NBA, which would suggest he has not failed two tests in his two-year career. Players can be tested up to four times per season.

Article XXXIII, Section 3(f) of the league’s collective bargaining agreementstates that team employees are prohibited from disclosing “information regarding the use, possession, or distribution of a Prohibited Substance by a player,” though it’s unclear whether Beasley’s private admission to Kahn falls under these rules.

This was last an issue when word leaked out just after the Blazers had filed for a medical retirement for injured forward Darius Miles, that Miles had failed a drug test in Portland, and that punishment would be administered in the form of a 10-game suspension as soon as he signed with another team. Portland stood to lose $9 million in 2009-10 cap space if Miles played 10 NBA games in 2008-09. As such, some alleged the Blazers leaked word of the pending suspension as a disincentive for teams looking to sign Miles.

The league eventually disclosed that Miles would be subject to a suspension upon signing; nevertheless, he played in 34 games for the Grizzlies in 2009, canceling his medical retirement and putting his $9 million 2009-10 salary back on Portland’s books.