The Memphis Grizzlies have informed pending unrestricted free agent Dillon Brooks that he will not be reinstated under any circumstances, league sources said. The Athletic.
After his tumultuous end to the season, Brooks was told of the Grizzlies’ decision to continue in exit meetings with team officials in recent days, those sources said. Memphis and Brooks discussed in exit meetings that it would be best for both sides to have a fresh start, the sources added.
Brooks’ first round series against the Los Angeles Lakers was considered the breaking point. During the Grizzlies’ six-game losing streak, he called LeBron James, the Lakers’ best player and a four-time NBA champion, “old,” “tired,” and suggested he wasn’t as good. Before. be. Brooks punched James in the groin area in Game 3, getting ejected. He missed a defensive assignment to help James with the game-tying basket in Game 4, and then gave a critical basket to James in overtime of that loss. Brooks also chose not to speak to the media after three of the series losses, resulting in a $25,000 fine by the NBA.
The Lakers also left Brooks open in the series and dared him to shoot, using an extra defender to prevent All-Star Ja Morant from driving or blitzing Desmond Bane on the perimeter. Brooks shot 31.2 percent from the field and 23.8 percent from 3-point land in the series while averaging 10.5 points and shooting nearly 13 shots per game.
Brooks, 27, a second-round pick out of Oregon in 2017, spent his entire six-year NBA career with the Grizzlies. He is the Grizzlies’ longest-tenured player, establishing himself as a three-and-D wing who can serve as a starter for several teams. He is often considered part of their heart and soul, as a fiery, rough-and-tumble defender who isn’t afraid to speak his mind.
Brooks also earned a suspension for headbutting Gary Payton II in last year’s playoffs, causing him to be suspended for one game against the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference semifinals. Brooks also hit Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell in the groin this season, starting a game in Cleveland.
Memphis made contract extension offers to Brooks earlier in the season, which were rejected and led to the end of talks, sources said.
Grizzlies executive vice president of basketball operations Zach Kleiman told reporters Sunday that the franchise will be “very aggressive” in the offseason. Memphis has up to five first-round picks and up to three draft swaps to use in prospective trades.
(Top photo by Dillon Brooks: Justin Ford/Getty Images)
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