Dillon Brooks poked the bear and now he’s searching for a new job. But JJ Redick has a big issue with how Brooks’ exile from Memphis was presented.
Tuesday afternoon, The Athletic’s Shams Charania broke the news that the Memphis Grizzlies informed Brooks of their plans to move on from the six-year veteran. Charania tweeted, “The Memphis Grizzlies have informed pending free agent Dillon Brooks that he will not be brought back under any circumstances, league sources say.”
Many were surprised by the timing and strong wording of this tweet. Maybe none more than ESPN NBA analyst JJ Redick, who shared his issue with the report Wednesday morning on ESPN’s First Take.
JJ Redick has an issue with Dillon Brooks being labeled a scapegoat pic.twitter.com/SrvWUxskYD
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) May 3, 2023
“I’m not sure that the Grizzlies are making Dillon Brooks the scapegoat,” Redick said. “But whoever put that language and approved that language in the tweet, yeah, that person wants to make Dillon Brooks the scapegoat.”
“I can’t remember a time in my 17 years either being in the NBA or covering the NBA where we’re in the second round of the playoffs, the day of a game where two of the greatest players ever are getting ready to square off, and we’re just tweeting out things for engagement,” Redick said without naming Charania. “Is that where we’re at? I’d be willing to bet that language didn’t come from the Grizzlies. This is the problem. It’s agenda-driven media. I have a problem with it!”
Still without naming Charania, Redick later referred to the NBA insider as a “man of integrity” and acknowledged the report on Brooks came from somewhere. But he did not believe it came directly from a higher-up inside the Grizzlies organization. The “just tweeting things for engagement,” allegation by Redick, however, sounded like a more direct criticism of Charania. Stephen A. Smith pushed back on Redick a little bit, claiming every single organization has a person willing to chirp.
“To me he’s not the scapegoat. And whoever’s agenda it was to tweet that out, I got a problem with that!” Redick said. “I don’t understand why you have to kick a guy while he’s down. For engagement? Really?”
Brooks is coming off a disappointing first round playoff series against the Los Angeles Lakers in which he sparked controversy by calling LeBron James “old” and stating, “I poke bears” after Memphis’s Game 2 win. Maybe he was trying to rattle LeBron by saying “I poke bears,” but Brooks ultimately poked the Grizzlies.
Memphis could have quietly moved on from Brooks, considering he’s about to be a free agent. But sharing that he won’t “be brought back under any circumstances” seems like an attempt to pass blame and damage Brooks’ leverage right before he starts searching for a new contract.