Report: Dillon Brooks’ series vs. Lakers was Grizzlies’ breaking point with him

Brad Sullivan
4 Min Read

The decision by the Memphis Grizzlies not to re-sign forward Dillon Brooks was apparently arrived at following Brooks’ controversial series against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on the decision and noted that Brooks’ questionable behavior against the Lakers was the final straw.

“The Memphis Grizzlies have informed pending unrestricted free agent Dillon Brooks that he will not be brought back under any circumstances, league sources tell The Athletic,” wrote Charania.

“After his tumultuous end to the season, Brooks was told about the Grizzlies’ decision to move on in exit meetings with team officials in recent days, those sources said. Memphis and Brooks discussed in exit meetings that it’s best for both sides to have a fresh start, sources added.

“Brooks’ first-round series against the Los Angeles Lakers was considered to be a breaking point.”

The Grizzlies’ decision on Brooks was a change in the team’s attitude from earlier this season, when their efforts to extend his contract were rebuffed.

“Memphis did make contract extension offers to Brooks early in the season, which were rejected and led to the end of talks, sources said,” wrote Charania.

Brooks recently completed his sixth season with the Grizzlies, who acquired him on the night of the 2017 NBA Draft. That deal came after the Houston Rockets had taken him with the 45th overall pick.

Since then, Brooks has established himself as a solid defender who can also contribute on the boards as well as the offensive side of the ball. For his career, he’s averaged 14.5 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.

Yet, his inability to rein in his behavior has ended up putting his career in limbo for the time being. Back in March, he was automatically suspended for one game after exceeding the league limit for technical fouls.

The one-game ban came not long after Brooks was fined $35,000 by the NBA for pushing a cameraman during the Grizzlies’ March 15 game in Miami.

Those behavioral flaws then came into stark focus in the playoff series against the Lakers. Brooks repeatedly tried to bait Lakers superstar LeBron James, including referring to the 38-year-old James as “old.”

Brooks managed to avoid a suspension after being assessed a flagrant 2 foul after striking James below the belt in Game 3 of the series. However, in the end, James and the Lakers got the last laugh by eliminating the favored Grizzlies last Friday night.

The fact that Brooks’ own coach, Taylor Jenkins, commented during the series about the Grizzlies’ lack of maturity was a clear sign that Brooks’ act had gotten old.

Exactly where Brooks ends up now becomes a guessing game, with some team looking for a talented defender possibly willing to look past his behavioral issues. That conceivably could be the Toronto Raptors since Brooks is a native of the Canadian province of Ontario.

Regardless of Brooks’ eventual destination, the Grizzlies’ decision should serve as a wake-up call to him. If it doesn’t, the 27-year-old may find his NBA career ending far sooner than he could have anticipated.

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Brad is a freelance writer for, who can clearly recall watching Lakers games in 1972 as they captured the first of their 11 Los Angeles-based titles. The franchise's evolution into a beloved and iconic franchise among its fan base since that memorable year allows for a wider perspective to be a part of his writing about the team's current fortunes.