OG Anunoby and the Toronto Raptors may hold the dubious distinction of “most disappointing team” this season, but Dillon Brooks and the Memphis Grizzlies are doing everything they can to take that title away from them. The No. 2 seed Griz are down 3-1 to the No. 7 seed Los Angeles Lakers in their playoff series.
The Grizzlies made a few nice moves this season, including the trade deadline acquisition for sharpshooter Luke Kennard, but they missed out on a deal for Anunoby when his value was as high as ever. They were willing to reroute multiple first-round picks to Toronto, but likely with tons of protections on them.
The Raptors and Grizzlies were engaged in trade talks, but Tim McMahon’s Monday appearance on The Hoop Collective podcast showed just how deep they were. Memphis was trying to acquire Anunoby in a deal that would send Brooks to Toronto.
“They tried to upgrade at the trade deadline,” MacMahon said. “They really weren’t able to get the Raptors in serious conversations, but they would have given up a few picks to get OG Anunoby. They’ve tried to move on from Dillon Brooks already.” Let’s be very happy that deal didn’t go down at the deadline.
The Toronto Raptors almost traded OG Anunoby for Dillon Brooks.
While Brooks is Canadian, he is also going to be a free agent at the end of this season. Ujiri might like his tenacity and effort on the defensive end, but there are so many negatives attached to his game that Toronto would be publically flogged if they pulled this deal off.
Brooks, who just turned 27 years old, has his worst scoring year in the last four seasons, all while seeing his efficiency from the field drop below 40% overall. If Ujiri wanted a quick fix on offense, Brooks might have actually been an anchor that further sunk this offense with some clutch misses.
Let’s also address the elephant in the room. Brooks has failed in his role to become a villain. The No. 1 rule of being a heel is never to break kayfabe, and Brooks did when he refused to talk to the media after he poked LeBron James. Brooks quickly became a joke after failing to adapt to this role, making him radioactive after combining it with his poor play.
Ujiri needs to make moves, but proposed deals like this show that restraint and patience are as much a part of being a GM as closing the deal on seismic swaps. Brooks’ second half of the season was disappointing, and it would have put Toronto in a much worse place.