After acquiring him mid-season as part of their roster revamp, the Lakers are reportedly set to decline their team option on Malik Beasley before it becomes guaranteed at midnight if they can’t find a team to take him in a trade.
Beasley is currently slated to make $16.5 million next season, the final year of his deal. Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports broke the news:
And unless they can find a trade here in the final hours, Los Angeles is expected to decline Malik Beasley's $16.5 million team option for the 2023-24 season. https://t.co/mDnYRudH9p— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) June 29, 2023
The Los Angeles Lakers will decline the team’s $16.5 million option on guard Malik Beasley, league sources told @hoopshype. Beasley will become an unrestricted free agent after leading the NBA in 3-pointers made off the bench last season.— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) June 29, 2023
Sources also indicating that the team will not pick up the $16.5 million option on Malik Beasley’s contract. Would clear the way for the Lakers to use their full mid-level in free agency. The Lakers could also re-sign Beasley for a lower number. https://t.co/8Tm0U4bRFj— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) June 29, 2023
If Beasley is indeed cut alongside Mo Bamba, the Lakers will open up their mid-level and bi-annual exceptions — the use of which would hard cap the team — with the former potentially being used to chase Denver Nuggets wing Bruce Brown.
However, the team hasn’t fully ruled out a return for either Beasley or Bamba, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
The Lakers will waive Mo Bamba and not pick up the team option on Malik Beasley today, sources told ESPN. LAL plans to stay in contact with both players’ representatives throughout free agency and could find different deal structures for Bamba and/or Beasley’s return to LA— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) June 29, 2023
With the Lakers last season, Beasley played 26 games in the regular season, averaging 11.1 points per game in 23.9 minutes. For much of that time, though, he struggled shooting the ball, connecting on just 39.2% of his field goal attempts and 35.3% of his 3-point attempts.
It was highs and lows for Beasley in his long-range shooting. He finished with four games in purple and gold with at least six 3-pointers in that short span, but also nine games with one or no 3-pointers made.
In the playoffs, Beasley’s limitations were more evident, as he played in 11 games but was gradually phased out of the rotation throughout the postseason. After playing in each of the first six games, Beasley only featured in garbage time for the remainder of the playoffs.
Beasley’s name was mentioned rather consistently in trade rumors leading up to the draft as part of a package with the No. 17 pick. However, the Lakers opted to keep the pick and draft Jalen Hood-Schifino, setting up the decision this week by the Lakers.
This breaking news story may be updated with more information as it develops. You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.