Could Michael Beasley and Kobe Bryant soon be teammates? (Mark J. Terrill/AP)

But one guy who appears to be a near-lock to be dealt is Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley.

The Timberwolves are reportedly shopping their 6-10, fourth-year swingman, and several teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers, New Jersey Nets, Houston Rockets and Boston Celtics have expressed interest.

After two underwhelming seasons in Miami, the former No. 2 overall pick averaged a career-high 19.2 points per game in 73 starts in 2010-11. But with Minnesota using last year’s No. 2 pick on another promising young forward — Derrick Williams — the front court is beyond overcrowded.

The Lakers may top the list of potential trade partners at the moment, but according to a report from ESPN’s Chris Broussard, they passed on Minnesota’s offer of Beasley for the team’s top first-round pick in this year’s draft (L.A. has two). ESPN’s John Ireland later reported that the proposed deal was for both of the Lakers’ first-rounders.

The Lakers could still absorb Beasley’s $6.2 million salary for this season into the trade exception from the Lamar Odom trade, but Beasley’s considerable baggage and maturity issues might be a far greater concern for L.A. and other teams.

Still, it behooves the Timberwolves to move Beasley. All-Star power forward Kevin Love leads the NBA in minutes per game, and Williams flashed his potential in a 27-point performance on Tuesday against the Clippers. But to this point, it’s been difficult for Williams to get on the floor. Wesley Johnson starts at small forward and the team also has forwards Anthony Randolph, Anthony Tolliver and Martell Webster on the roster.

For his part, Beasley has displayed the scoring ability he could bring to a contender in recent weeks. In games in which he has played at least 20 minutes this season, the 23-year-old is averaging 13.4 points.

Where do you think Beasley will end up? And should the Lakers deal for him?


Derrick Williams finally breaks out as Timberwolves edge Clippers

NBA trade rumors: Rajon Rondo, Monta Ellis could be on the move