Even by pro sports “This is a business” standards, the Memphis Grizzlies saying Dillon Brooks will not be “brought back under any circumstances” is harsh. A simple “No thanks” would’ve sufficed, but I guess a door to the backside on the way out is warranted when you goad the other team’s best player, go 24-of-77 on the series, and then refuse to talk to the media about why you felt the need to talk so much.
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Brooks went from poking the bear to being poked for signs of life like he was a floater off the coast of Bay City. (The key is being gentle and pushing the body back out to sea without popping it for the next precinct to discover/deal with.) I’ve got a ton of corpse jokes here, but let’s move on before I get even further carried away.
This move isn’t at all surprising considering Memphis’ meltdown over the last half of the season, and it’s easy to pin the culture problem on Brooks because he fancies himself as a tone-setter. The outfits, the disgusting hair-dos (I’ve never seen someone try to put a rat tail on every hemisphere of their head), and ball-slapping antics are only redeemable if you back them up with your play, and Brooks did the opposite of that.
He didn’t back up any of the baggage he brings to a club, and now the organization is backpedaling as fast as they can away from him. Yes, Brooks helped the team develop its identity, but they leaned too far into the act, and it ended up being counterproductive to the next steps the Grizz are trying to take.
Expect a soft reset on culture in Memphis, with the front office bringing in guys with added maturity and less volatility, aka the anti-Brooks. And though the Shanghai Shark photoshops are rampant right now, plenty of teams are always on the lookout for a cheap three-and-D wing. My guess is Brooks gets a one-year you-break-it, we-cut-you deal for a fringe/desperate contender a la Phoenix or the Clippers. How that plays out is up to Brooks, and ideally, he’s learned the very evident error of his ways.
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