MINNEAPOLIS – Michael Beasley's first season in Minnesota was quiet off the court, an encouraging sign for the Timberwolves as they hoped to see him mature and emerge as a go-to player for a franchise that desperately needs one.
His first full offseason here isn't off to a good start.
Beasley was ticketed for possessing marijuana and speeding in the Minneapolis suburb of Minnetonka last week, police said on Wednesday.
Capt. Scott Boerboom said that an officer stopped Beasley around 3 a.m. on June 26 on Interstate 394 after clocking him going 84 mph in a 65 mph zone. He said the officer smelled a strong odor of marijuana coming from the car.
The officer allegedly found 16.2 grams of the drug in a plastic bag under the front passenger seat of Beasley's car. Beasley told police the marijuana was not his, but belonged to a friend whom he had just dropped off. According to the report, Beasley cursed when an officer pulled out the bag.
The possession charge is a petty misdemeanor that carries a fine of $128.
The Timberwolves said they could not comment during the league's lockout, and The Associated Press left a message for Beasley's agent, Jeff Schwartz.
NBA spokesman Tim Frank said the league's anti-drug agreement, including testing and penalties, is not in effect during the lockout so it's unclear what will happen if and when owners and players reach agreement on a new labor deal. Under the previous collective bargaining agreement, Beasley would have faced a five-game suspension if found guilty of his third marijuana-related violation.
Whatever happens, the traffic stop was a discouraging sign for a player who appeared to be putting his troubles behind him. Beasley's NBA career started in Miami, where he acknowledges violating the drug policy twice. He entered a treatment facility in Houston in 2009. With two young children in Miami, Beasley spoke of settling his life down and staying away from the glitzy scene on South Beach.
Timberwolves President David Kahn was fined by the league after he said in a radio interview that Beasley was "a very young and immature kid who smoked too much marijuana" while he was playing in Miami, but Beasley stayed out of trouble in his first year up north, moving into a house on the outskirts of the Twin Cities suburbs becoming a regular on the golf course.
On the court, Beasley averaged a career-high 19.2 points per game, putting together stretches of dominance that showed why he was the No. 2 overall pick in 2008. He topped 25 points 10 times in a 13-game stretch to finish November, including scoring 42 against Sacramento and 35 against the Knicks on back-to-back games.
But he badly sprained his ankle in December, an injury that recurred several times throughout the rest of the year and stunted his development as a player.
Beasley has spent much of the summer working out in Los Angeles with teammates Wes Johnson and Derrick Williams. Kahn said Beasley also is working with former Lakers player Norm Nixon, who is serving as something of a mentor for him on and off the court.
"They're working on everything, basketball and even some things off the court," Kahn said in June.
Teammates spoke glowingly about Beasley's light-hearted demeanor in the locker room and scoring talents on the court, but some observers wondered if his days in Minnesota were numbered when the Wolves selected Williams with the No. 2 pick in the draft. The Arizona forward has a similar skill set, with the ability to play both the small forward and power forward, shoot from outside and break down defenders off the dribble.
Kahn laid that speculation to rest shortly after the pick, saying emphatically that he wasn't going to trade Beasley and was anxious to see how the two super-athletic scorers would play together.
But Kahn also made it clear in his season-ending press conference that he expected to see more growth from Beasley heading into next season, both as a person and as a player.
"Michael has been, in many ways, a positive force on this team," Kahn said. "Especially in the locker room. He's very well-liked by his teammates. He's a very boisterous, up-beat person. And people, they gravitate to that.
"And it's important to have people like that in the locker room. But ... we will see. I think Michael will understand that me saying we will see doesn't mean I doubt him. But, show us."
Associated Press writer Steve Karnowski contributed to this report.
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