The Los Angeles Lakers’ offseason has been a resounding success by almost all accounts, but it could have taken a different turn after reportedly meeting with Dillon Brooks.
“To my knowledge, the Dallas Mavericks were said to be seriously in the mix for Brooks’ services,” wrote Kelly Iko of The Athletic. “Milwaukee was also keeping close tabs on the situation on the off chance Khris Middleton took his talents elsewhere. Brooks also met with the Lakers, but there was no smooth pathway to acquiring him given their cap situation, unless the Lakers were prepared to go down the complex sign-and-trade path that Houston did.”
Brooks eventually left the Memphis Grizzlies to join the Houston Rockets on a four-year deal. Considered one of the best defensive players in the NBA, Brooks could have been a jolt to the Lakers’ on-court personality and locker room chemistry with his hard-nosed approach and overflowing confidence.
The Lakers eliminated the Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs last season, and during the series, Brooks had plenty to say about LeBron James, calling him “old” and relishing his chance to “poke bears” in postgame comments following Game 2. He then was ejected from Game 3 for a flagrant foul after hitting James in the groin.
The 38-year-old superstar took to social media following the Lakers’ Game 6 win and seemed to very much enjoy having the last laugh. As for Brooks, his shenanigans during the series reportedly convinced the Grizzlies it was time to move on from him. It seemingly worked out okay for the 27-year-old, however, with a new contract reportedly worth $86 million.
Perhaps the Lakers simply decided Brooks was not worth the trouble. But they were more likely happy with the roster they were constructing, adding Gabe Vincent, Cam Reddish, Taurean Prince and Jaxson Hayes in free agency while also re-signing Austin Reaves, D’Angelo Russell and Rui Hachimura.
James finally announced he is fully on board for his 21st NBA season, and Anthony Davis also returns as the Lakers will try to take advantage of their current championship window.
The Rockets are coming off a 22-60 season and have not made the playoffs since 2020. Even though they have Ime Udoka as their new head coach and also added Fred VanVleet, they may not be headed to the postseason in the near future.
That means Brooks and James may never get to renew their playoff feud, to say nothing of getting to experience what it would have been like to actually be teammates.