NBA Rumors: Houston Rockets To Sign Donatas Motiejunas Or Make Him A Free Agent

What is going to happen with the Houston Rockets and Donatas Motiejunas? Time is ticking for the Rockets to make a decision on what to do with their strerch-forward. The Rockets have to either decide to offer Donatas Motiejunas a contract which he will sign, keep him unsigned with a cap hold attached to their salary holdings, or make him a free agent.

A lot of acrimony and hurt feelings have developed between Motiejunas and the Houston Rockets over the past several months. As NBA players were changing their teams or re-signing with their teams, an impasse started between Motiejunas and the Rockets’ front office.

As a restricted free agent coming off of an injury, Motiejunas was receiving interest from NBA teams, just not any offers. The Rockets retained the rights to match whichever contract Motiejunas received after extended him a qualifying offer. Teams balked. And so did the Rockets when it came to discussing a long-term deal.

The Rockets missed an opportunity to trade Motiejunas after the November 23 deadline passed. In order for the Rockets to be able to trade Motiejunas, he had to be signed to an NBA contract by the deadline.

Determining Donatas Motiejunas’ value has been difficult for the Houston Rockets to gauge. Not signing him to at least a one-year contract by November 23rd eliminated an option for the Rockets. [Image by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]

After believing that the power forward would not accept the offer that the Rockets hand on the table that was rumored to be worth $7 million per season. Houston pulled it, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein and Calvin Watkins. By doing so, the Rockets eliminated one of the options they had at their disposal. More confusion has followed.

Donatas Motiejunas is miffed, while Rockets’ head coach Mike D’Antoni was noncommittal to the power forward.

“You always move on; we’re not waiting for him,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said Wednesday night.

“You try to develop guys and develop roles and we are doing that.”

At the same time, he’s that good where if things change, we’ll welcome him in and see what happens,” D’Antoni added.

“But again, this is a time that he has to get good with himself, because it is a business and the organization is a business.”

It is not that the Houston Rockets could not use Donatas Motiejunas. He is a natural fit for D’Antoni’s offense. Health is likely the overall issue the Rockets have.

Before last season’s trade deadline, the Houston Rockets made an attempt to trade Motiejunas to the Detroit Pistons. Once the trade was announced, the deal was rescinded (courtesy of ESPN) after the power forward failed his Pistons’ physical. A nagging back injury was to blame for the failure. What became clear is that the Rockets are comfortable playing without him.

If the Houston Rockets do not want Donatas Motiejunas, why extend a qualifying offer to him in the first place?

It is likely that the Rockets view Motiejunas as a solid player capable of being a contributing member to a team. That gives him value around the NBA. Therefore, if Motiejunas has some value, the Rockets could have traded him for a solid player or draft picks in return.

Pulling the offer that was on the table forces the Houston Rockets’ hands. The Rockets cannot trade Motiejunas, and they clearly will not be able to sign him, leaving allowing him to become a free agent as the one viable option.

If Motiejunas does become a free agent there will be plenty of teams looking to sign him. Expect the Brooklyn Nets, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Philadelphia 76ers to be among those teams. Also, keep an eye on the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors as teams who could possibly get involved with signing Motiejunas. Chances are that his days with the Houston Rockets are over.

[Featured Image by Scott Halleran/Getty Images]

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