For better or worse, Dillon Brooks is never afraid to be himself. Since he got into the NBA, he’s earned a reputation as an irritant and instigator.
Both of those qualities were beyond apparent in the first round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs, where Brooks’ Memphis Grizzlies took on the Los Angeles Lakers. Brooks wasn’t afraid to disrespect an NBA great in LeBron James by calling him “old,” which was then followed by him saying he was not afraid to poke bears. Well, that ultimately backfired as the Grizzlies lost in six games. After the early exit, the team has reportedly made a decision on Brooks’ future with the franchise.
Per The Athletic’s Shams Charania (subscription required), the Grizzlies will not be bringing Brooks back “under any circumstances” next season. The 27-year-old will now enter free agency, and the market for him will not be bountiful. However, these three teams should take the gamble.
No. 1 – Phoenix Suns
When you can trade for Kevin Durant, you do it. However, it came at a cost for the Phoenix Suns, who gutted a significant portion of their depth for the two-time champion. One of the big issues for the Suns in the playoffs this season has been their lack of depth, as they’ve relied heavily on their main guys. No matter how their season ends, this team needs to find complementary pieces to surround their core with this off-season, and Brooks could be a feasible option.
While Brooks is certainly not on Mikal Bridges’ level defensively, he could be used to fill the current hole the Suns have after sending Bridges to the Brooklyn Nets to get Durant. Bridges would often take on the most difficult matchups offensively to alleviate pressure off of the other Suns. He’d bring defense, toughness, and grit to this team that could use more depth.
Brooks likely will not be in the market for a huge deal this off-season, which could also benefit the Suns mightily as they retool the roster.