Following an unceremonious exit from the Memphis Grizzlies, forward Dillon Brooks has found a new home. Brooks and the Houston Rockets reportedly agreed to a 4-year, $80 million deal, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Free agent G Dillon Brooks has agreed on a four-year, $80 million contract with the Houston Rockets, his agent Mike George of @OneLegacySports tells ESPN. Rockets have now landed two targets in free agency — Fred VanVleet and Brooks.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 1, 2023
The deal will reportedly be a sign-and-trade that gives the Grizzlies a significant trade exception to use for the future.
Brooks, 27, had a relatively successful six-season stint in Memphis, which he capped off with a spot on the NBA's All-Defensive second team last season. He averaged 14.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists this past season during the Grizzlies' rise to the second seed in the Western Conference. Brooks has averaged 14.5 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists since 2017.
But he became known more for his on-court antics than his production. He led the league with 18 technical fouls in the regular season, was fined a total of $363,863 throughout the season (fourth-most in the NBA) and was suspended three times (twice for too many technical fouls and once for an altercation with Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell).
Brooks' poor decisions spilled into the postseason, too. He was suspended one game after he committed a flagrant 2 foul on Golden State Warriors guard Gary Payton II in the 2022 Western Conference semifinals. Brooks also had multiple confrontations with Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James during the 2022-23 playoffs. He later blamed the media for making him out to be a villain.
That extra attention with the Lakers coincided with a steep drop in form for Brooks, who bit off more than he could chew on offense. In six games, Brooks shot a gallingly bad 31.6% from the field and 23.8% from deep.
All of that added up to an ignominious exit from the Grizzlies, who were reported to not be interested in re-signing Brooks "under any circumstances."
Rockets are a different challenge for Dillon Brooks
The Rockets provide Brooks a new home and a different challenge. The 27-year-old is going from back-to-back 50-win seasons in Memphis to a rebuild that is still attempting to get off the ground after three straight miserable years.
Houston's future is built on the futures of Alperen Sengun, Jalen Green, Jabari Smith Jr. and Amen Thompson, but it now seems to making moves for the present as well. The team had already brought in a new head coach in Ime Udoka, landed former Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet on a three-year, $130 million deal, added former Phoenix Suns big man Jock Landale on another multi-year deal and traded for veteran Patty Mills.
Brooks gives the Rockets a likely starter at small forward and a defensive presence the team has sorely lacked in the recent past. We'll see if he tries to give them anything beyond that, which is where it started to go wrong last postseason.