The Athletic’s Kelly Iko believes that free agent wing Dillon Brooks could make around $17 million to $18 million per season in free agency this offseason.
— Bradeaux (@BradeauxNBA) June 18, 2023
Brooks, 27, has spent the first six seasons of his NBA career with the Memphis Grizzlies.
The University of Oregon product made an All-Defensive team in the 2022-23 season, but he isn’t expected to return to Memphis this offseason. He’s been pegged as a “realistic” target for the Rockets in free agency.
Houston has a young team, led by Jalen Green and Jabari Smith Jr., but the team could look to add a veteran like Brooks to help it contend for a playoff spot in the 2023-24 season.
The Rockets have struggled on defense in recent seasons, and Brooks brings a tenacity and fire on that end of the floor that could help some of Houston’s younger players step up their game on the defensive end.
In the 2022-23 season for the Grizzlies, Brooks averaged 14.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 0.9 steals per game while shooting 39.6 percent from the field and 32.6 percent from beyond the arc.
Brooks is not the most efficient scorer, but he can be a valuable player when placed in the right role.
The question for the Rockets becomes whether or not the team is willing to pay this price for Brooks in the open market.
Memphis gave Brooks a three-year, $35 million extension prior to the 2020-21 season, so he’d be looking at a massive pay upgrade on a deal worth around $17 million or $18 million per season.
Brooks has shown potential as a scorer, averaging 18.4 points per game in the 2021-22 season, but Houston has to decide whether or not he is a player that will give the team a shot at a playoff spot with a contract in that ballpark.
The Rockets have been one of the worst teams in the NBA since trading away James Harden during the 2020-21 season. Houston does have cap space this offseason to improve around its young core, but the team may need more than just Brooks to truly make a run at a playoff spot in the crowded Western Conference.
It will be interesting to see which teams pursue Brooks this offseason.