A trade fell apart due to confusion over which would be included, but is there really a difference between Dillon Brooks and MarShon Brooks?
Eventually, Trevor Ariza was traded from the Phoenix Suns to the Washington Wizards for Austin Rivers and Kelly Oubre. But not before an evening of slapstick confusion. The original rendition of the deal, one that had advanced far enough to be reported publicly by Adrian Wojnarowski, included the Memphis Grizzlies as the third team. However, there was confusion over if it would be Dillon Brooks or MarShon Brooks going to the Suns along with Rivers, as Oubre would go to Memphis. Wayne Selden was also set to go from Memphis to Phoenix in the first version of the trade. As the teams realized they weren’t talking about the same players, things went off the rails.
The inclusion of the Grizzlies now seems trivial, since the Wizards and Suns didn’t seem to really need a middleman to make it work financially. The Suns apparently thought there were getting Dillon Brooks, but on Saturday Grizzlies’ general manager Chris Wallace spoke candidly on that.
We were very clear about who was in the trade,” “Contrary to reports, it was not Dillon Brooks. It put us in a very difficult situation with our players when individuals from one or both of those teams leaked the deal while we were playing last night. That forced me to do something I’ve never done in 30 years in this league working for seven teams: To drag two players out of the locker room to tell them they’d been traded and then come back and tell them, no, you haven’t been traded.
That a trade went away due to confusion over which Brooks was on the move invites the question — is there really any difference between Dillon and MarShon?
Dillon Brooks is a 6-foot-6 small forward, and he was a second-round pick out of Oregon in 2017. He played in all 82 games and started 74 for the Grizzlies as a rookie last year while averaging 11 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. He has been out since November with a sprained MCL in his left knee, but he is nearing a return on the early end of a 6-8 week recovery timetable.
Prior to the Grizzlies signing him last season, MarShon Brooks was out of the NBA for three full seasons. In 26 games this season, the 6-foot-5 shooting guard is averaging 7.1 points and 1.7 rebounds per game over just under 14 minutes per contest. Memphis is Brooks’ fifth NBA franchise, and he’ll turn 30 in January.
Clearly, even though he’s currently out injured, the Suns would definitely rather have a promising 22-year old (23 on Jan. 22) like Dillon Brooks over an almost 30-year old never-was like MarShon Brooks.
But in original conversations about the trade, it’s easy to see a vague reference to “Brooks” being made. So it probably would have been wise for the Suns to know there was more than one on the Grizzlies’ roster, and proceed accordingly.
The Wizards and Grizzlies being involved in games Friday night is at the root of Wallace’s comments. But some blame for the Brooks confusion can rest at the feet of James Jones and Trevor Bukstein, who are sharing general manager duties for the Suns after Ryan McDonough was fired just before the start of the season.