This offseason, the Memphis Grizzlies proved to be a rather busy organization. From their blockbuster acquisition of Marcus Smart to their addition of veteran Derrick Rose via free agency, GM Zach Kleiman made some rather bold and intelligible decisions in hopes of better positioning head coach Taylor Jenkins’ roster for a deep and successful run in 2023-24.
However, arguably the best move the Grizzlies made this summer is the one they ultimately didn’t make, as Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz tabbed former Memphis starter and recently signed Houston Rockets wing Dillon Brooks’ four-year, $86 million contract as the worst one shelled out this summer.
"“…giving Brooks $80-plus million was the worst contract handed out in free agency, especially when the final number turned out to be $86 million over four years,” Swartz wrote. “The primary problem with Brooks is that he’s a defensive specialist who thinks he’s an offensive specialist. Of the 74 NBA players who attempted at least 13 shots or more per game last season, Brooks’ true shooting mark of 49.4 percent ranked dead last.Going from a championship-hopeful Memphis Grizzlies team to a young Houston Rockets squad coming off a 22-win season likely won’t scale back Brooks’ shot selection, either. The Rockets already ranked last as a team in three-point efficiency (32.7 percent) and 28th in overall field-goal percentage (45.7 percent) this past season.”"
Swartz would go on to note that had the Rockets snagged Dillon Brooks to a “one- or two-year deal at a mid-level exception-type salary” it would have been relatively understandable for the rebuilding club.
However, seeing him ink a $20-plus million average salary attached to a contract with “no team option or partial guarantee” has seemingly left the B/R writer dumbfounded.
Brooks established himself as quite a polarizing figure amongst the Grind City faithful and NBA fans as a whole throughout his six-year tenure in Memphis, particularly during what ultimately was his final season with the team in 2022-23.
After putting forth rough efforts during the club’s one-and-done playoff run that saw his loud-mouthed persona lack backup from his on-court production (averaged 10.5 points and 3.0 rebounds on a putrid 31.2 percent shooting against the Lakers), his future with the Grizzlies was already believed to be in jeopardy heading into this summer’s free agency period.
However, after his lofty contract desires were revealed, it was then reported that the franchise would undoubtedly be parting ways with the 27-year-old.
With this decision, the Rockets, who were required by the league to find ways to use up their $60-plus million in cap space, swooped in and shelled out what very well may be the most heinous of all salary pacts made this offseason.
As a result, it appears the Grizzlies dodged an extremely high-priced bullet.