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Michael Beasley Puts Down Marijuana, Picks Up New Team

Michael Beasley was the No. 2 pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, a player of admirable talent and questionable character. To this point, Michael Beasley has disappointed, on both fronts.

But with a new contract with the Phoenix Suns and a new lifestyle disposition – no more marijuana – Beasley contends he is on the proper course.

”I’ve really realized my potential,” Beasley said. ”I’ve really realized what I can do.”

Working with former NBA champion Norm Nixon has helped the 6-foot-10 forward understand he has much to gain and much to lose by straightening out his personal life.

”I realize 10 minutes of feeling good is not really worth putting my life and my career and my legacy in jeopardy,” said Beasley, who twice was suspended for violating the NBA’s drug policy. He was arrested last year for possessing marijuana and speeding near Minneapolis. And he entered a drug treatment facility 2009.

“I’m confident to say that that part of my career, that part of my life, is over and won’t be coming back,” Beasley, 23, said.

Suns general manager Lance Blanks seemed elated about this new Michael Beasley, who signed a three-year, $18-million free-agent deal with the Suns.

”Regardless of his past and regardless of any thoughts that people may have,” Blanks said, ”we are excited. I know I am excited to embrace everything he is about and most importantly wants to be as a Phoenix Sun.”

Added coach Alvin Gentry: ”You’re around him and you want to embrace him and you want him to do well.  I think everybody here will be pulling for him.”

Beasley, who has averaged 15.1 points in his first four years in the league, played his first two seasons with Miami and the last two with Minnesota. He became a free agent when the Timberwolves declined an $8 million option to keep him.

”I’d like to thank the organization for believing in me,” he said, ”giving me another chance, a better opportunity to grow as a person and a player. . .  I kind of want to take my past head-on. What happened, it happened. It happened in a growing process. I’m still a young man. I’m still learning today. The mistakes I made in the past are hopefully behind me. Hopefully, the Suns organization can be patient with my growing process. I’m just excited to get a start, excited to play basketball.”

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