Report: Grizzlies won't re-sign pending free agent Dillon Brooks 'under any circumstances'
Dillon Brooks may have played his last game for the Memphis Grizzlies after spending his entire professional career with the team. The pending unrestricted free agent was informed "he will not be brought back under any circumstances," The Athletic's Shams Charania reported Tuesday.
Team officials reportedly broke the news to Brooks in exit meetings recently, where both parties reportedly agreed it was time for a fresh start. Brooks’ showing in the Grizzlies' first-round series against the Los Angeles Lakers was a "breaking point," according to the report.
Mike George, Brooks' Agent, appeared to refute the report on Thursday. He called Charania "the leader of spreading false news and attacking players," in response to a clip of ESPN on-air talent and former NBA player JJ Redick speaking about Brooks' situation on "First Take." "Why any player in the league talks to this guy blows my mind. #weirdo," George added.
"I'd be willing to bet that language didn't come from the Grizzlies," Redick said about the "under any circumstances," portion of Charania's report. he went on to argue that whoever approved that language, "wants to make Dillon Brooks the scapegoat," for the Grizzlies' issues.
@ShamsCharania the leader of spreading false news and attacking players. Why any player in the league talks to this guy blows my mind. #weirdo https://t.co/Coj2b0aY6E
— Mike George (@MikeGTdot) May 3, 2023
In addition to Brooks' multiple attempts to "poke the bear" in LeBron James, the forward saw decreased production in the postseason.
Through six games in the series loss, Brooks averaged just 10.5 points per game, shooting 31% from the field and 23.8% from 3.
He had a confrontation with James, the NBA's all-time leading scorer, in Game 2: "I don't care. He's old," Brooks said after the Grizzlies won and evened the series. "I poke bears. I don't respect no one till they come and give me 40."
James and the Lakers responded with a Game 3 win, where Brooks got himself ejected with a flagrant 2 foul for hitting James in the groin. He finished the game with 7 points on 3-of-13 shooting in 19 minutes.
Brooks went on to blame the media and fans for his "villain" reputation. He also broke league rules by refusing to speak with reporters after losses to the Lakers, earning a $25,000 fine.
The 27-year-old may have seen success with trash talk in the past, but it backfired in this case and placed a microscope on his lackluster performance.
The controversy surrounding Brooks is not limited to this postseason. He was the league leader for regular season technical fouls (18). He was suspended for instigating an on-court altercation with Cleveland Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell by striking him in the groin area in February. He was fined $35,000 for shoving a camera person during a loss to the Miami Heat in March.
Last postseason, Brooks was suspended one game following his flagrant 2 foul on Warriors guard Gary Payton II in the Western Conference semifinals. Brooks swiped his arm across Payton's head on a transition layup. Payton, who took a hard fall, suffered a fractured left elbow.
He went to Memphis in 2017 as a second-round draft pick out of Oregon. Brooks found his place with the Grizzlies quickly, playing in 82 games during his rookie year. In six seasons, he averaged 14.5 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 345 regular season games. Brooks just finished the final year of a three-year, $35 million deal. Now, it appears he will have to explore the market and search for a new basketball home.
While his recent postseason comments seem to be a large component in the splintered relationship with his longtime team, Brooks told reporters he has no regrets.