Basketball: Kiwi Steven Adams welcomed to Houston Rockets by former Memphis Grizzlies teammate Dillon Brooks

Steven Adams and Dillon Brooks in action for Memphis.
Steven Adams and Dillon Brooks in action for Memphis. Photo credit: Getty Images

Kiwi centre Steven Adams already has a fan at the next stopover of his NBA career, after his trade from Memphis Grizzlies to Houston Rockets.

Sidelined this season after knee surgery, Adams, 30, was sent to the Rockets in return for another injured player - guard Victor Oladipo - and two second-round draft picks in a transaction that had more to do with financials than improving either team this season.

While the Grizzlies seem doomed for the draft lottery, after a season-ending injury to superstar guard Ja Morant, Houston are one of the league's big improvers, adding key veterans to the young roster that finished 22-60 in 2022/23.

They have already won more games halfway through the current season. 

One of those veterans is forward Dillon Brooks, whose contract was not extended by Memphis at the end of last season and whose abrasive defensive style has added starch to the Rockets.

The moment he heard of Adams' trade - before it had been finalised - Brooks messaged the Kiwi with glad tidings.

"He's a great teammate, great friend," Brooks told the Houston Chronicle. "He has a lot of knowledge on life and on basketball - I can't wait for him to get down here.

"He was super-excited. I told him Houston is a great place, he'll love it."

Adams and Brooks have different approaches to basketball - one physically intimidates rivals with his physical strength, while the other antagonises opponents with his trashtalking.

Brooks has made enemies with his disrespect towards many of the game's best players, as he attempts to get under their skins, perhaps one of the reasons he was cut loose by Memphis, as they cleaned shop.

Steven Adams and Dillon Brooks have faced off for different teams in the past.
Steven Adams and Dillon Brooks have faced off for different teams in the past. Photo credit: Getty Images

He suggests Adams' presence would have changed how the Grizzlies - and Brooks himself - finished the season. Memphis were 30-17 when he was injured and finished 20-16 without him.

"I don't think I would get scrutinised as much if he was playing," Brooks told the Chronicle. "It just goes to show how big a presence he has on any team that he's on, so I'm glad he's with us.

"There's a physicality that we haven't had at the post. He has so much knowledge on rebounding, on how to defend guys he's been in the league for so long and then his energy.

"Anything that's not in the statistics, he does that at the highest level."