Report: The NBA’s most hated player is near the top of Houston’s wish list

Kevin Porter Jr. and guard Jalen Green, Houston Rockets Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Porter Jr. and guard Jalen Green, Houston Rockets Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /

The Houston Rockets have a lot riding on this summer as they hope to turn things around after a disappointing last few seasons. Since superstar James Harden demanded a trade back in 2021, the Rockets have won just 24.7% of their games over the last three seasons and failed to win the top pick in the NBA draft each time.

That proved especially costly this year, but the Rockets appear ready to try and win again based on an ambitious summer wishlist, including an interesting choice. Memphis Grizzlies small forward Dillon Brooks has managed to cultivate a reputation as the most unpopular player in the NBA due to his trash-talking.

Part of that was intentional, with Brooks trying to get into his opponent’s heads, but it backfired in the NBA playoffs when he and the Grizzlies underperformed against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Dillon Brooks is a theoretical fit for the Houston Rockets

Despite being one of the best defenders in the NBA this season, even being named first-team all-NBA, the Grizzlies appear disinterested in bringing him back next year. While it seems that his market in free agency could be limited to just a few teams willing to take a chance on him this summer.

However, the Rockets have plenty of cap space and a desire to win, and Brooks could be an affordable option to start at small forward next season.

With new coach Ime Udoka, who previously led the Boston Celtics to the NBA Finals, tasked with improving Houston, he’ll probably start with defense.

Brooks fits the bill, and getting a starter in free agency, particularly someone who can defend as Brooks can, would be a win for the Rockets. This after finishing in the bottom three in defensive rating each of the last three seasons.

Although he would definitely fill a role on the team, convincing Harden to rejoin the team in free agency will be their number one priority. He would dictate whether they’d fast-track their rebuild or hold off and continue to build through the draft.

Next. The 10 best available small forwards in NBA free agency. dark

Ultimately, Brooks will play elsewhere next season after appearing to wear down the Grizzlies. His options may be limited given his reputation, but the Rockets appear poised to make him an offer this summer, assuming they land their first option.