The franchise’s plans to move on from Brooks, a six-year veteran who is the longest-tenured player on the roster, were solidified in the wake of second-seeded Memphis’ first-round playoff elimination to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Brooks had a disappointing series — shooting just 31.2% from the floor as Lakers defenders frequently sagged off him to clog the paint — and created distractions by calling LeBron James “old” and declaring, “I poke bears,” after the Grizzlies’ Game 2 victory.
“We’re going to take a different approach as it pertains to [trash talk] next season,” Grizzlies general manager Zach Kleiman said Sunday during the team’s exit interviews. “You’ll see a different approach from this team, but at the same time, confidence is important. … There’s a line there, certainly.”
Asked specifically about Brooks, Kleiman said: “I’ll hit on DB another day. Nothing I can comment on for now with him going into free agency.”
Brooks, an elite wing defender who complained during the playoffs about being portrayed as a “villain,” led the NBA with 18 technical fouls this season, resulting in two separate one-game suspensions. He was suspended another game for striking Cleveland’s Donovan Mitchell in the groin area, starting a scuffle between them.
Brooks, 27, averaged 14.3 points on 39.6% shooting this season. His poor shot selection had long been a cause of frustration within the organization, and Brooks repeatedly mentioned his reduced role this season during his Sunday exit interview with Memphis media.
“I don’t think I lost anything on the offensive end,” said Brooks, who averaged a career-high 18.4 points in 2021-22. “I was just there to 3-and-D, shoot and play defense. I got way more to my game than that.”
The Grizzlies’ plans to not bring back Brooks were first reported Tuesday by The Athletic.