Report: Brook Lopez falling through for Houston Rockets led to ‘domino effect’ that changed their offseason

Mike Battaglino
4 Min Read
Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Rockets’ offseason plans took a turn after target Brook Lopez chose to re-sign with the Milwaukee Bucks, but the “domino effect” certainly paid off for players like Dillon Brooks and Jock Landale, who were able to cash in with lucrative deals.

“Houston thought they really had a strong chance to get Lopez,” NBA insider Michael Scotto said. “Brooks ended up getting more money. Jeff Green originally agreed to a one-year, $6 million deal. Then, once the Lopez talks fell through, there was a follow-up conversation after the initial agreement and a scenario where it was pitched that he could do a longer deal (two years, $16 million), and that’s how he ended up getting a little bit more money on the front end.


“Lopez had a domino effect, and look what it did for Jock Landale. He ended up getting four years, $32 million. From what I’ve heard, Landale, this upcoming season, is going to make double more than what Phoenix was looking at offering at that point. It was a no-brainer for him to go to Houston, which benefited him financially, even though, looking ahead, that contract is structured with some non-guarantees, so it can be traded. Overall, it was a win for Landale and his camp. For Dillon Brooks’ camp, that was a win when all of NBA Twitter had him going to the Shanghai Sharks. Well, the joke was on NBA Twitter because he broke the bank and took all the checks with him as well.”

Lopez reportedly turned down a two-year, $54 million offer from the Rockets to return to the Bucks for two years and $48 million. Houston then filtered that unspent money into bigger deals for players like Brooks — who reportedly is getting $86 million over four years after leaving the Memphis Grizzlies — as well as Green and Landale.

The Grizzlies reportedly decided to move on from Brooks after some of his antics during the playoffs against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. The Phoenix Suns may have found it difficult to afford Landale after adding Bradley Beal in a trade with the Washington Wizards this offseason.

The Bucks were able to keep Lopez plus Khris Middleton, who re-signed on a three-year contract worth up to $102 million.

Lopez finished second to Jaren Jackson Jr. of the Grizzlies for Defensive Player of the Year this past season after the 35-year-old center set his career high with 193 blocked shots, averaging 15.9 points and 6.7 rebounds per game along the way. Milwaukee also was able to sign Lopez’s brother Robin as a free agent from the Cleveland Cavaliers this offseason.

Houston, for its part, was able to fulfill its desire for defense by getting Brooks, a player Jackson said has been the best defensive player in the NBA for years. The Rockets also added Fred VanVleet with a three-year, $130 million contract.

The Rockets reportedly may have been considering extending an offer sheet to Austin Reaves, with the San Antonio Spurs doing the same. Reaves eventually re-signed with the Lakers.

The twists and turns of an NBA offseason can be a lot like musical chairs, but it seems that all of the players involved in dealings with the Rockets found comfortable seats when the music stopped.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has focused on New York sports. He has covered the NBA and NFL for almost three decades and is still waiting for the next championship for the Knicks and Jets.