Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks is playing on an expiring $11.4MM contract in 2022/23, making him an unrestricted free agent this summer if he doesn’t sign an extension. Will Memphis bring him back for ’23/24?
ESPN’s Tim MacMahon noted on the Hoop Collective podcast that the Grizzlies have already tried to upgrade from Brooks, having made unsuccessful trade deadline pitches to Brooklyn for Mikal Bridges and Toronto for OG Anunoby. MacMahon suggested Memphis might call the Nets about Dorian Finney-Smith if the team chooses not to re-sign Brooks (hat tip to RealGM).
“I don’t know if Dillon Brooks is on this team after this (Lakers) series,” MacMahon said. “We’ll see if the Grizzlies can come back and win it. I certainly don’t know if he’s on this team after free agency this summer, but the problem is if he’s not, who’s guarding all the best players? All the stars on the other teams?”
“If they’re letting Dillon Brooks go, they absolutely have to get a really, really, really good defensive wing player. They can let him go in free agency, they just have to figure out how to replace him. Trust me, they’ve put a lot of thought into that.”
Here’s more on the Grizzlies:
- Damichael Cole and Mark Giannotto of The Memphis Commercial Appeal believe it’s looking unlikely that the Grizzlies will re-sign Brooks unless he turns things around in a major way for the rest of the playoffs. Although he is a very good defensive player, Brooks’ shooting has been a liability against the Lakers — through three games (23.5 MPG), he’s posting just a .325/.250/.600 shooting line while averaging more shots (13.3) than points (11.3).
- Brooks was ejected in the third quarter of Game 3 after hitting LeBron James in the groin while going for a steal, but he won’t be suspended for Monday’s Game 4, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).
- Brooks, 27, believes being labeled as a “villain” is why he received a flagrant foul 2 for the incident, according to MacMahon of ESPN. “The media making me a villain, the fans making me a villain and then that just creates a whole different persona on me,” Brooks said. “So now you think I intended to hit LeBron James in the nuts. I’m playing basketball. I’m a basketball player. So if I intended — and that’s whatever is in the flagrant 2 category — if you think I did that, that means you think I’m that type of person.”
- One of the primary reasons the Grizzlies were able to win Game 2 is third-year big man Xavier Tillman (22 points on 10-of-13 shooting, 13 rebounds) outplayed Lakers star Anthony Davis (13 points on 4-of-14 shooting, nine rebounds, five blocks). Tillman’s journey this season has been an eventful one, as Cole writes for The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Tillman played in summer league and then spent time with the Grizzlies’ G League affiliate to open the year. However, injuries to Steven Adams and Brandon Clarke have opened up minutes in the middle, and Tillman has taken advantage of his opportunity, Cole notes. “I think it’s a true sign of a winner,” Jenkins said. “It’s a true sign of a pro, and that’s why we love (Tillman), a guy who always stays ready. He wants to impact winning in whatever his role is going to be.” The Grizzlies hold a $1.93MM team option for ’23/24 on Tillman, who will be extension-eligible this offseason.