Dillon Brooks

Grizzlies Notes: Crowder, Jackson Jr., PF, Clarke, Brooks, Adams, Green

Grizzlies star Ja Morant would like to reunite with former teammate Jae Crowder, who is sitting out training camp as the Suns seek a trade partner for the veteran forward. In reply to Crowder’s tweet about seeking work “where he is wanted..where he is needed,” Morant sent out a “back soon” emoji (Twitter link). In a separate tweet, Morant noted that Crowder hit a game-winning three in overtime to help him get his first NBA win.

Crowder didn’t shoot well in 45 games with Memphis in 2019/20, Morant’s rookie season, but he caught fire with Miami after being dealt away. Crowder has spent the past two seasons with Phoenix after signing a three-year, $29MM deal as a free agent in 2020. He’s making $10.2MM in ’22/23, the final season of his contract.

Here’s more from Memphis:

  • Starting power forward Jaren Jackson Jr. underwent surgery to repair a right foot stress fracture at the end of June, with the team saying he’d miss four-to-six months at that time. At Monday’s Media Day, executive vice president of basketball operations and general manager Zach Kleiman said that timeline remains accurate. However, Jackson said that while he’s unlikely to suit up for opening night, he believes he’s ahead of the team’s schedule (Twitter links via Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian). Jackson hopes to win Defensive Player of the Year in ’22/23 after coming fifth last season, tweets Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. “I want it badly,” Jackson said.
  • With Jackson injured, second-year big man Santi Aldama was the first name to pop up as a possible replacement in the starting lineup from both Kleiman and head coach Taylor Jenkins, but Jenkins said that there are a number of other candidates for the role, including Brandon Clarke, Ziaire Williams, Dillon Brooks, Xavier Tillman, David Roddy and Jake LaRavia, so it sounds like there might be a training camp battle for the job, or even fluctuate depending on matchups (Twitter links from Cole).
  • Speaking about the contract statuses of Clarke, Brooks and Steven Adams, all of whom are extension-eligible, Kleiman didn’t want to go into specifics of negotiations, but he said the Grizzlies like all three players. “We view them as potential long-term pieces of our group,” Kleiman said, per Cole (via Twitter). Clarke would be a restricted free agent in 2023 if he doesn’t receive an extension, while Brooks and Adams would both be unrestricted. In case you missed, we broke down what an extension for Clarke might look like earlier today.
  • Despite being injured with a torn ACL, it doesn’t sound like veteran wing Danny Green is in danger of being waived anytime soon. “Danny Green is part of this group,” Kleiman said, adding that Memphis expects Green to return in ’22/23. However, his status as a free agent next summer is “to be determined.” (Twitter link via Cole). Green has a nearly $7MM partial guarantee on his $10MM contract this season, so he could be used as a trade chip for salary-matching purposes, but it also makes it expensive to waive him. If the Grizzlies retain Green, Killian Tillie is probably the odd man out, as the team is facing a roster crunch. Tillie will earn a guaranteed $1.9MM this season.

And-Ones: Kurucs, Smith, Iguodala, Brooks, Trent Jr.

Former NBA forward Rodions Kurucs has officially signed a one-year contract with Real Betis Baloncesto in Seville, Spain, according to a team press release. The Spanish team’s interest in Kurucs was reported earlier this month.

Kurucs has appeared in 131 NBA games, including a total of 21 with Brooklyn, Milwaukee and Houston during the 2020/21 campaign. He played with KK Partizan in Serbia last season. Kurucs also saw action in four Summer League contests with the Raptors in July.

We have more from the basketball world:

  • French big man Victor Wembanyama and G League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson are the early favorites to go 1-2 in next year’s draft. Who’s No. 3? Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo chooses Arkansas freshman guard Nick Smith. Woo unveils his early first-round mock for 2023, which is filled with wings and guards.
  • Andre Iguodala believes the NBA should continue to play 82 regular season games, Lee Tran of FadeAwayWorld.net relays. On his Point Forward podcast, Iguodala says the grind of an NBA season “separates the men from the boys,” adding “We can’t change 82 games. 82 games … there’s a mental side of it. That’s why we talk about rookie wall. Records are made to be broken, and as we get better over time we’ll break more records. But I do think that there’s a foundation in all sports, you have to carry on that tradition.”
  • Dillon Brooks, Gary Trent Jr. and Victor Oladipo are among the potential free agents in next year’s class who could pump up their value during the upcoming season, Dan Devine of The Ringer writes. Devine takes a closer look at eight “compelling” players to watch as they head into possible contract years.

Western Notes: Clarkson, Huerter, Bertans, Brooks

With the future of the Jazz uncertain following the trade of Rudy Gobert and news that the team is open to moving its other 2022 All-Star (Donovan Mitchell), 2021 Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson is keeping an even keel, writes Sarah Todd of the Deseret News.

 “My vibe is always good,” Clarkson said of his attitude while dealing with the Jazz’s tenuous outlook. “This is my ninth year going into the league. I know how the business of basketball works… This is all part of what it is. But my preparation never changes and I’m going to wake up every morning and be me and do what I do. Everything is good.”

There’s more out of the West:

  • New Kings shooting guard Kevin Huerter is bringing his playoff pedigree to Sacramento and hopes to help Sacramento reach the postseason, writes Jarrod Castillo of NBC Sports Bay Area. “I feel like I’ve been through a lot there, having that playoff experience,” Huerter said. The 6’5″ wing added that he’s “hungry to win” with his new club.
  • In his first full season for the Mavericks, power forward Davis Bertans needs to return to the level of long-range shooting that earned him his current $80MM contract, writes Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com. During the 2019/20 season, Bertans connected on 42.4% of his 8.7 three-pointers a night. Last season, in 22 games for Dallas, he connected on 36% of his 3.9 looks a game, a solid but not elite percentage.
  • Veteran swingman Dillon Brooks appears likely to earn a contract extension offer from the Grizzlies, writes Chris Herring of the Daily Memphian in a subscriber-exclusive story. However, Herring expects Brooks to reject such an offer. During the 2021/22 season, Brooks was limited to just 32 games. When he could suit up, he averaged 18.4 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.8 APG and 1.1 SPG.

Stein’s Latest: Grizzlies, Mavs, Pistons, Schröder, Bagley

After reporting over the weekend that the Grizzlies, who hold the 22nd and 29th overall picks in this Thursday’s draft, are “trying hard” to move up, Marc Stein says in his latest Substack report that Memphis is among the teams that has explored the possibility of acquiring the No. 4 overall pick from the Kings.

It would be a challenge for the Grizzlies to entice the Kings to move that fourth overall pick without a lottery selection of their own to offer in return. As Stein observes, Memphis would probably have to offer up at least one member of its veteran core to pique Sacramento’s interest — Stein mentions Dillon Brooks and Brandon Clarke as possibilities.

Jeremy Woo of SI.com, who confirms that the Grizzlies are trying to trade up from No. 22, suggests that the team has proposed package that includes various veterans, including De’Anthony Melton. However, Woo says Memphis has been trying to move “into the teens,” which is a more realistic goal than getting all the way up to No. 4.

Here are a few more items of interest from Stein:

  • Having agreed to acquire Christian Wood from Houston, the Mavericks are “far less likely” to make use of their $10.9MM trade exception, a source tells Stein. That exception, which will expire after June 27, would allow Dallas to acquire nearly $11MM in salary without sending out any salary of their own, but the Mavs already project to be well over the luxury tax line, especially if they re-sign Jalen Brunson, so they’ll be wary about continuing to spend.
  • While the Pistons have been cited as a potential suitor for Brunson, Stein hears from sources that they’ve been considering targeting Dennis Schröder as a more cost-effective option in the backcourt.
  • Stein also confirms that the Pistons continue to be linked to free agent center Mitchell Robinson and have “very strong interest” in re-signing former No. 2 overall pick Marvin Bagley III.
  • In case you missed it, Stein also passed along several Hawks-related tidbits, which we round up right here.

And-Ones: BIG3, Canada, Hezonja, Coaches

Ty Lawson, Corey Brewer, Jordan Crawford, Jonathon Simmons, Norris Cole, Festus Ezeli, and Jordan Hill are among the many former NBA players whose names are in the BIG3 draft pool for the 2022 season, per the league’s official website.

The BIG3 will hold its draft on Wednesday evening in Los Angeles as it gears up for the coming season. As we previously relayed, the first games of 2022 are scheduled for June 18 and this will be the first year in which the BIG3 holds an All-Star Game.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

Warriors Notes: Payton, Wiggins, Curry, Moody

In an article for The Players Tribune, Warriors guard Gary Payton II says there’s no lingering dispute with the GrizzliesDillon Brooks over a hard foul that left Payton with a fractured left elbow. Payton reveals that Brooks apologized outside Golden State’s locker room following the conclusion of their second-round series.

“I give Dillon a lot of credit for that — no text, no social media, nothing indirect,” Payton writes. “He came in person, and we talked like grown men. He told me he didn’t mean to hurt me. I believe him.”

Payton adds that he’s staying positive despite a three- to five-week prognosis that means he may not return before the Warriors’ playoff run is over. He says his attitude is a product of all the work it took for him to make the league and to earn a roster spot with Golden State.

“From Day One, back when I first got with this team, all I wanted more than anything was to just stick around — that was my motto,” Payton writes. “Because I knew that if I could just do that, eventually I was going to play my way into the rotation. I was going to make an impact, there was absolutely no doubt in my mind. Early on, they’d bring guys in to have a look at them or whatever, and I’d D them up like my actual life depended on it. It was like, Nope. No sir. You are not taking my spot. Not today.”

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Andrew Wiggins is listed as questionable for Sunday night’s Game 3, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN. Wiggins, who has a sore left ankle, is averaging 17.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists in the first two games of the series, MacMahon notes, and he’s been the team’s primary defender against Luka Doncic. Wiggins twisted the ankle late in the first half Friday night (video link from Anthony Slater of The Athletic). Coach Steve Kerr expects him to play, Slater adds (Twitter link).
  • After two years away from the playoffs, Stephen Curry is providing a reminder of how dangerous he can be in closing out games, writes Marcus Thompson of The Athletic. Curry leads all postseason scorers this year with 104 fourth-quarter points, and he’s done it in just 79 minutes. “I thought Steph kind of smelled blood in the water those last five minutes (Friday),” Kerr said, “and he got to his spots. We had good spacing, and he got in in the middle of (the) paint, and he finished. … So Steph did what Steph does, something like that.”
  • Kerr trusted Moses Moody to be part of his lineup that opened the fourth quarter, per Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area. The 19-year-old rookie played nearly 10 minutes in the final quarter and registered a plus-8. “Moses is extremely mature, and what makes him special is he’s ready for any moment,” Jordan Poole said. “For him to come in and step up and play big minutes in the Western Conference finals and help us pull out a win is huge.”

Southwest Notes: Brooks, Doncic, Rockets, Pelicans

The Grizzlies will face an offseason decision on what to do with forward Dillon Brooks, writes Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Brooks has started 245 of 272 games since arriving in Memphis in 2017, but Cole wonders if it might make more sense for the Grizzlies to make him a sixth man next season, since it would open up more offensive opportunities for starters like Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, and Jaren Jackson, while Brooks could be the sort of shot creator that the bench has lacked.

Brooks’ contract situation is also worth monitoring. He’ll be entering the final year of his current deal, which could make him a candidate for either a trade or an extension. The most the Grizzlies could offer him would be about $61MM over four years.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • TNT’s Kevin Harlan said on Thursday that Luka Doncic was “up most of the night” after Game 1 on Wednesday due to an illness, but a source tells Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News that the Mavericks star is “good to go” for Game 2 on Friday. Doncic will be looking to bounce back after scoring just 20 points on 33.3% shooting on Wednesday — both marks were playoff lows for him.
  • G League Ignite wing MarJon Beauchamp has a workout lined up with the Rockets, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic, who says it’ll be Beauchamp’s first pre-draft workout. Beauchamp is the No. 22 prospect on ESPN’s big board, so he’d be a player Houston would consider with the No. 17 pick, not at No. 3.
  • The Pelicans didn’t have much luck on lottery night on Tuesday, but they’re already playing with house money by virtue of receiving the Lakers’ first-round pick at No. 8 overall, writes Scott Kushner of NOLA.com. Stil, it’s important for the team to make the most of its “unexpected gift,” Kushner says.

Grizzlies Notes: Morant, Anderson, Brooks, Jackson

Taking into account both regular season games and postseason contests, the Grizzlies now have a 21-6 record without Ja Morant this season, and that mark may actually understate how well they’ve played without their All-Star point guard, writes John Hollinger of The Athletic. Sixteen of those 21 wins have been by double-digits, including a 73-point rout of Oklahoma City in December.

The Grizzlies’ depth is one reason why they’ve been so effective when Morant has been unavailable, and the point guard’s subpar defensive numbers are another, Hollinger observes. The Grizzlies gave up more points per possession with Morant on the court than with any other single player on the court this season.

However, digging further into the data, Hollinger unearths several more interesting details, including Dillon Brooks‘ positive impact on the Grizzlies (especially defensively) and how infrequently he and Morant played together this season. The Grizzlies’ performance with and without Morant has also been skewed by their opponents’ shooting luck, which is one reason why Hollinger, unsurprisingly, concludes the team isn’t actually better off without the 22-year-old.

Interestingly, Hollinger’s data shows that the Grizzlies have actually played well with no true point guard on the court, with Kyle Anderson serving as the primary ball-handler. Hollinger suggests that could be a factor in how the team approaches Anderson’s and Tyus Jones‘ free agencies this summer.

Here’s more on the Grizzlies:

  • As expected, Morant has been officially ruled out of Friday’s Game 6 vs. Golden State due to the bone bruise in his right knee, per the Grizzlies (Twitter link). Santi Aldama (right knee soreness) and Killian Tillie (lower back procedure recovery) also remain sidelined.
  • After a 5-of-19 shooting performance with four turnovers in Game 4, Dillon Brooks bounced back in Game 5. Although he had just 12 points on 5-of-13 shooting, Brooks didn’t turn the ball over and was an eye-popping plus-38 in just 24 minutes. He suggested after the game that there’s still room for improvement. “I’m my worst critic. I know I’m playing like trash,” Brooks said, per ClutchPoints (video link). “I know I’m not shooting the three well, but I’m trying to do all the little things.”
  • Jaren Jackson Jr., who bested Brooks with a plus-42 mark in just 25 minutes on Wednesday, is realizing how dominant he can be at just the right time, writes Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. “He’s the key,” Brooks said of Jackson. “They’ve got no one to guard him. No one to stop him. He needs to keep demanding the ball and the Warriors are going to have to adjust and double-team him soon. He’s going to have to learn how to pass the ball out to get his teammates shots. That’s what he needs to do. I try to tell him to stay aggressive, and you’re a walking mismatch out there for every single player that guards you, so just keep attacking.”
  • Although the Grizzlies will be playing on the road and missing their best player, Mark Giannotto of The Memphis Commercial Appeal isn’t convinced the team’s season will come to an end on Friday in Golden State.
  • In case you missed it, Grizzlies head of basketball operations Zach Kleiman was named the NBA’s Executive of the Year on Thursday.

Dillon Brooks Remorseful For Foul On Payton

Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks expressed remorse for injuring Warriors guard Gary Payton II during Game 2 of their teams’ Western Conference series, Damichael Cole of the Memphis Commercial Appeal writes. Brooks spoke publicly for the first time since he was assessed Flagrant Foul 2 for his takedown of Payton, who suffered a fractured elbow.

“I didn’t mean for to hurt somebody,” Brooks said. “If I were to take it back in that moment, I would.”

Brooks served a one-game suspension but will return to action for Game 4 on Monday. Payton is out for the remainder of the series and is expected to need at least three weeks to recover.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr and several of his players felt Brooks’ hack was a dirty play. Payton tumbled to the court after Brooks fouled him on a layup attempt. Kerr added that Brooks “broke the code” of how the game is played.

Brooks wasn’t sure how to take that.

“I don’t even know what that means,” Brooks said. “It’s the playoffs. Every bucket, every pass, every possession, every play counts.”

The Grizzlies are eager to get Brooks back, especially given Ja Morant‘s injury status.

“DB’s going to be huge for us,” Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said. “We always talk about him being a tone-setter for us

Taylor Jenkins: “We Are The Furthest Thing From Dirty”

Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins is defending his team against accusations of “dirty” play, writes Drew Hill of The Daily Memphian.

The label started after Dillon Brooks was ejected from Tuesday’s game following a flagrant two foul that knocked Warriors guard Gary Payton II out of the series. Brooks has been suspended for Saturday’s Game 3, and Golden State coach Steve Kerr said he “broke the code” regarding safety among NBA players.

“I also wanted to address a narrative out there that was said between Game 1 and Game 2,” Jenkins said. “It was said that we have to play more physical, and the word dirty has been thrown out there. I look at my locker room and I look at our culture and what we exude — we are the furthest thing from dirty. We are competitive. I want that to be squashed pretty quick here. I know words only mean so much right here. We feel for what Payton is going through and that’s not going to change the course of action, but our guys are going to rally and focus on Game 3.”

Jenkins added that the league has been communicating with Grizzlies vice president of basketball operations Zach Kleiman since Tuesday night about the possibility that Brooks could be suspended. That gave Jenkins additional time to work on a game plan without Brooks available.

Brooks is Memphis’ best perimeter defender and is extremely valuable in countering the Warriors’ small-ball lineup. He has also become an important part of the offense, averaging a career-best 18.4 points per game this season.

“It’s disappointing,” Jenkins said of the suspension. “It’s an unfortunate circumstance and we will honor the league’s decision. It’s a tough play. We wish Gary Payton a speedy and healthy recovery. You don’t want to see anybody get hurt.”

Brooks’ absence on Saturday will likely mean a larger role for rookie Ziaire Williams, who served as the primary defender on Stephen Curry after Brooks was tossed from Game 2, Hill adds. De’Anthony Melton, who had three blocks and two steals on Tuesday, should see more time as well.

“It’s going to be even more of a grind,” Melton said. “It’s going to take mental focus and physical focus even more. We’ve played without guys before, and great teams without guys. We just have to go in and continue to play hard and play our game and have fun.”