The GM had a hearty chuckle about the unfolding of events in Memphis, which were bizarre even by NBA standards. First, there had been a few weeks of suggestions that upcoming free-agent forward Dillon Brooks had cost himself money with his misguided tough-guy antics this season. That escalated to veteran reporter Marc Stein noting in his column that there was “growing doubt” about the Grizzlies re-signing Brooks.
That escalated to Shams Charania of The Athletic reporting that the Grizzlies and Brooks had agreed to part ways during postseason exit interviews, the Grizzlies leaking that Brooks, “will not be brought back under any circumstances.”
“I have never seen a team go out of its way to separate itself from a pretty replaceable role player like that—in May, no less,” the GM said. “Don’t let the door hit your a** on the way out, I guess.”
But you should not cry for Brooks, nor should you expect to see him in a Shanghai Sharks uniform next year. Brooks will still be a sought-after free agent this summer, especially for contending teams hoping that the controversy he stirred this season will depress his asking price (for this season, at least).
The GM projected that Brooks would have been in lone for something like three years and $54 million, but that likely will have to wait.
Brooks is a capable two-way wing, a rugged defender who has averaged 14.5 points in his career. Those are always in demand. Brooks just might need to take a step back on his paycheck in the short term to rebuild his value.
“There will be tax teams hoping to get him in on a one-plus-one (one year with a player option for a second) deal—come to us, we have a good culture, help us win, clean up your reputation, and then go back on the market next year,” the GM said. “He’ll be in demand.
“He can get $7 million for next year that way. The Heat would be a team like that, they could even start him and they can sell him on the culture there. The Celtics depending on what happens with Grant (Williams), that would be a spot. Phoenix, they will be looking for role players and Brooks could be a starter there, too. Same with Cleveland, they need a wing.
How about Brooks in Big D?
“Dallas, he is the kind of guy they are desperate for,” the GM said. “Teams like that have to make a call on a guy like him. So, I can appreciate the Grizzlies turning the page on someone they don’t want around. But look, he is not gonna be run out of the league.”
Anthony Davis’ Load-Management Payoff
Lakers coach Darvin Ham probably did not win many friends in the NBA offices back in New York on Tuesday night when he noted that the second-half performance in Game 1 of the West semifinals from star big man Anthony Davis—who had seven points, 12 rebounds, four assists and two blocks while playing all 24 minutes of quarters three and four—could be attributed to load management.
The sitting of star players during the regular season has become a sore topic for NBA owners, and load management is a rather unwelcome phrase.
“This is what load management is about,” Ham told the media. “If there’s going to be load management, we have to manage their loads throughout the regular season in order for us to push them a little further during this time of year, postseason, everything is at its peak. You have to pare down your rotation and you got to push the big dogs. Your big dogs got to be there early and often.”
“Trust me,” one NBA executive told Heavy Sports on Wednesday, “that comment made (NBA commissioner) Adam Silver groan. The Lakers probably will hear about that.”
Thompson Twins Rising in NBA Draft
While Brandon Miller of Alabama is widely considered to be the consolation prize for whichever franchise finishes with the No. 3 pick in the upcoming draft—thus missing out on uberprospect Victor Wembanyama and star guard Scoot Henderson—scouts have been talking up the outlooks of twins Amen and Ausar Thompson, who have played for the past two seasons in the Overtime Elite league.
Both players are likely Top 10 picks. Don’t rule out Top 5, though.
“Amen is a guy who can play three positions, he has really good vision and can develop into a big combo guard,” one scout told Heavy Sports. “He has potential as the No. 3 pick. Ausar is more of a scorer who can defend, but he can develop more playmaking, too. There is a ton of upside there for both guys and I would not be surprised if they’re both gone in the Top 8 or even by No. 5 or 6.”