What happened to Michael Beasley and Greg Oden? The Miami Heat won their first game of the post-LeBron James era, and for a night at least, showed that they didn’t need his rare talents to achieve victory. Chris Bosh had a scoring and rebounding explosion, showing off why Pat Riley gave him a max contract in the offseason and reminding the NBA world that he was quite the alpha-dog before he got shoved aside in favor of LeBron. Dwyane Wade threw in 21 points of his own, hushing those who claimed he was washed up. But LBJ was far from the only face missing from the new-look Miami Heat. Down at the end of the bench, Oden and Beasley were nowhere to be found.
Both players were added as low-cost experiments last season, Michael Beasley on his last legs figuratively after a series of immaturity issues, and Greg Oden on his last legs literally after knee injuries nearly derailed his career. But neither saw much meaningful action during the Miami Heat season, and by the time the playoffs came around, both had been shoved to the end of the bench. But now they’re both unceremoniously gone, and while it’s possible one could still return at some point, the other is apparently gone for good.
Beasley was never in the Miami Heat’s plans heading into the 2014-2015 season, and after failing to catch on elsewhere in the NBA, signed a contract last month to play basketball in China of all places. The Miami Heat could have had him for the minimum but didn’t want him. Oden is a different matter. Riley spoke publicly about wanting to keep him around. But after a domestic violence arrest in the offseason, Oden’s NBA career appears to be on hold entirely. The Heat could re-add him at some point if the charges are dropped.
But the team appears to have moved on. Rookies like James Ennis and Shabazz Napier are leading the new youth movement in Miami. And with those players having unfettered potential and a clean history, the Heat appeared to have simply lost interest in continuing with baggage-laden reclamation projects like Michael Beasley and Greg Oden. Although no one will argue that the Miami Heat are as talented as they were last season when they had LeBron James, they are more deep overall this season. It’s unlikely Oden or Beasley could have seen the floor much even if they had been signed. And so the end of the bench is occupied by newcomers instead.