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Pelicans Sign Donatas Motiejunas To 1 Year $1.1 Million

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  • Pelicans Sign Donatas Motiejunas To 1 Year $1.1 Million

    Brooklyn Nets sign Donatas Motiejunas to 4-year, $37 million offer sheet

    The Brooklyn Nets have signed restricted free-agent forward Donatas Motiejunas, as expected, to a four-year offer sheet potentially worth as much as $37 million, according to league sources.

    But sources told on Friday night that the uniquely structured deal is fully guaranteed for only $5 million of that total and rising to $17.5 million if Motiejunas has earned his 2017-18 option by March 1, terms that could well encourage the Houston Rockets to match the Brooklyn offer sheet.

    The Rockets will have a 72-hour window, ending at Monday at 11:59 p.m., to decide whether to match the offer or let Motiejunas join the Nets.

    "I have to talk to the owner before we make a decision," Houston general manager Daryl Morey said Friday night. "There's been a lot of restricted free agents that went late into the season, several into December. It's a process that's part of how things work. Sometimes it takes a little longer, but we're happy it's going to come to a resolution."

    The Nets have been weighing the move internally for some time and, according to sources, are "comfortable" with where Motiejunas is medically, after back issues scuttled the Rockets' trade of ‎him to the Detroit Pistons in February.

    That history of back trouble, however, led the Nets to structure Motiejunas' contract with a number of protections against long-term risk. Sources say he will earn $5 million immediately just by signing the contract, but the team that has him on its roster as of Tuesday must decide by Jan. 10 whether to guarantee an additional $3.5 million for this season or let him go at that point. By March 1, sources said, Motiejunas' full $9 million option for the 2017-18 must then be picked up or declined.

    "I'm happy," Motiejunas, a 26-year-old native of Lithuania, told ESPN's Calvin Watkins on Friday. "It's [been] way too long, I waited so long; I just wanted to play basketball.

    "Even better, it showed they believed in me," Motiejunas said of the Nets. "They put me through a number of tests [on his back], and they saw that I'm as healthy as anybody else. After Detroit, everybody was questioning me. They showed a commitment that I'm going to be a piece of their future; if not, I'll be happy with Houston, too."

    After signing the offer sheet, Motiejunas flew to Houston, where he will await the Rockets' decision on whether to match it. Although the final two seasons of the contract are non-guaranteed, Motiejunas ‎can clinch the total of nearly $18 million in guaranteed money if he plays into March with no health issues.

    ‎Houston pulled its most recent offer to Motiejunas on Nov. 22, when the sides couldn't come to terms on a deal before the Rockets' self-imposed Nov. 22 deadline.

    ‎Nov. 23 was the last day that players could be signed this season and remain eligible to be dealt on the league's annual trade-deadline day, which falls on Feb. 23. ESPN reported in early November that the Rockets, as a result, picked that date as their own internal deadline to sign Motiejunas, fearing his value would decrease if they didn't have the ability to trade him.

    The Nets, sources said, specifically waited until this week to sign Motiejunas, in part because they hope Houston will be less inclined to match an offer for him now. The Rockets will be unable to trade Motiejunas for a year without his consent if they elect to match the offer.

    Sources told Stein on Nov. 4 that the Rockets were offering a two-year deal starting in the $7 million range but with only the first season fully guaranteed for the 7-foot, 223-pound Motiejunas.

    ESPN reported last week that Motiejunas was "surprised and upset" that negotiations with the Rockets had dragged on so long. Motiejunas could have made himself an unrestricted free agent next summer had he been willing to play out this season on Houston's $4.4 million qualifying offer, but he let the qualifier expire Oct. 1, hopeful that a long-term deal would materialize.

    The Rockets have been unwilling to guarantee more than the first year of a multiyear deal in a nod to Motiejunas' injury history. Houston traded him to Detroit in February, only for the Pistons to void the deal and send him back to the Rockets because of a failed physical stemming from Motiejunas' back troubles.

  • #2
    Houston Rockets agree to match offer sheet for Donatas Motiejunas

    The Houston Rockets have matched the Nets' $37 million offer sheet to Donatas Motiejunas. To make room on the roster, the Rockets released guard Bobby Brown.

    "There aren't many 7-foot players who have the skills that D-Mo possesses," owner Leslie Alexander said, according to Fox 26 in Houston.

    Coach Mike D'Antoni, who is in his first year with the Rockets, also praised Motiejunas.

    "He's skilled, 7 feet, knows how to really play basketball, a hard worker," D'Antoni said. "Above all, just his basketball intelligence will be great for any team; it will be great for us. We just got to fit him in and work it out and get him into shape. It's going to take a little bit, but there's time."

    After the Nets offered the deal to Motiejunas, Houston had a 72-hour window until midnight Monday to match.

    Motiejunas will have to pass a physical before joining the Rockets. He passed a series of tests on his back when he signed the offer sheet with the Nets last week.

    The Rockets attempted to trade the Lithuanian big man to the Pistons last year, but back issues scuttled that swap.

    Motiejunas averaged 6.2 points and 2.9 rebounds per game last season.


    • #3
      Houston Rockets, Donatas Motiejunas agree to four-year deal

      The Houston Rockets and big man Donatas Motiejunas have hashed out a new contract that ends the restricted free agent's long holdout saga, league sources told ESPN.

      Sources told ESPN that the Rockets on Friday formally pulled the four-year, $37 million offer sheet from the Brooklyn Nets that they matched earlier this week then replaced it with a new four-year deal that could also be worth as much as $37 million.

      The new deal, however, provides the Rockets with a more favorable guarantee date for the 2017-18 season while also ensuring that Motiejunas will earn $8.3 million this season. Under the original offer sheet, Motiejunas was guaranteed $5 million this season.

      "He has IQ, size, back-to-the-basket scoring, another skilled big. He does a lot. He can shoot the 3," guard Patrick Beverley said of Motiejunas on Friday. "People don't understand he might not be a big athletic person but he's always in the right places, taking charges and stuff. So DMo is a big key to what we've been doing the last couple of years."

      The agreement is pending a physical, which is scheduled for Friday, sources told ESPN.

      The Vertical first reported the agreement between the Rockets and Motiejunas.
      Motiejunas refused to report to the Rockets this week after Houston matched Brooklyn's incentive-laden offer sheet. At the root of Motiejunas' discontent, sources said, was the fact that Houston was not required under league rules to match the $6 million in bonuses in the original $37 million contract constructed by the Nets, meaning that $31 million was the most Motiejunas could earn as a Rocket.

      But the sides, sources say, worked out new terms that significantly increase the amount of guaranteed money Motiejunas will earn this season while also providing Houston with more future flexibility in terms of either keeping or trading the 7-footer.

      It is too late for the Rockets to trade Motiejunas this season, but the new contract does not come with the various trade restrictions that matching an offer sheet would, meaning Motiejunas will now become trade eligible the day after Houston's season ends.

      In the new deal, Motiejunas' guarantee date for next season's $9 million salary has been moved from March 1 to mid-July, which essentially makes the final three years of the four-year contract nonguaranteed. That's more along the lines of what Houston wanted to do all along; ESPN reported in November that Houston was offering him a two-year deal starting in the $7 million to $8 million range but with only the first season fully guaranteed in a nod to Motiejunas' history of back issues.

      Sources said Houston pulled the two-year offer on Nov. 22 because Motiejunas would be trade-eligible this season only if he were under contract by Nov. 23 because the NBA's annual trade deadline falls exactly three months later on Feb. 23. Motiejunas then signed an offer sheet with the Nets on Dec. 2.


      • #4
        Donatas Motiejunas becomes unrestricted free agent after Houston Rockets release rights to him

        HOUSTON -- The Houston Rockets announced Thursday night the organization has renounced the rights to power forward Donatas Motiejunas, making him an unrestricted free agent.

        Rockets GM Daryl Morey said in a statement the team was in "extensive discussions" with Motiejunas' agent, B.J. Armstrong, and the league office regarding his status.

        The decision comes one week after the Rockets signed Motiejunas to a four-year, $31 million deal. But after taking a physical, Motiejunas told ESPN he was sent home. Rockets officials declined to comment on whether Motiejunas failed the physical.

        Earlier this month, Motiejunas signed a $37 million offer sheet with the Brooklyn Nets, but after the Rockets matched the offer sheet, Motiejunas refused to report because of a dispute over incentives. The Rockets then lifted the offer sheet, keeping Motiejunas as a restricted free agent.

        Two days later, the Rockets signed Motiejunas to a new deal, but another hangup occurred last Friday after he reported for his physical.

        Thursday's development means Motiejunas is now an unrestricted free agent, but it hasn't been determined yet whether he can sign with any team. Under the original terms of the offer sheet, he was not allowed to sign with the Nets for at least one season.

        With Motiejunas gone, the Rockets re-signed guard Bobby Brown, and he is likely to be available for Friday's game against the New Orleans Pelicans.

        In four seasons with the Rockets, Motiejunas averaged 7.8 points and four rebounds per game. After undergoing a lumbar microdiscectomy on his back in April 2015, he suffered a setback during rehab and underwent a second minor procedure in the summer of 2015.

        Motiejunas eventually returned to the Rockets in the 2015-16 season, playing in 37 games. However, the Rockets traded him to the Detroit Pistons at the trade deadline, only to have that trade be rescinded by the league after he failed a physical.

        Motiejunas did return to the Rockets and finished the season without any medical issues. But this summer, Motiejunas was given a $4.4 million qualifying offer by the Rockets, something he rejected because he wanted a long-term deal from a team. With few offers, Motiejunas started the season on the shelf as the Rockets moved on without him.

        And now the Rockets have officially cut ties with him.

        "Donatas was a true professional throughout his four seasons with the Rockets," Morey said in his statement. "We wish Donatas the best moving forward and want to thank him for his contributions both on the court and in the community."

        Armstrong and Motiejuans did not return phone calls seeking comment.


        • #5
          Donatas Motiejunas signs 1-year deal with the New Orleans Pelicans

          After five months in limbo, Donatas Motiejunas is officially back on an NBA roster.

          The New Orleans Pelicans announced Tuesday that they had officially signed the free-agent big man.

          Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but ESPN's Marc Stein reported Sunday that the agreement is for one year at a pro-rated share of the $1.1 million veterans minimum.

          While still a restricted free agent, Motiejunas, 26, signed a four-year offer sheet with the Brooklyn Nets in late November that was potentially worth up to $35 million. After Houston matched the Nets' offer sheet, Motiejunas refused to report for his physical, which led to the sides reworking some of the contract terms in a new four-year deal.

          The Houston Rockets, though, ultimately decided to surrender their rights to Motiejunas and make him an unrestricted free agent after he finally took his physical, severing their ties to him after four seasons together following negotiations with his agent B.J. Armstrong and league officials.

          The Rockets traded Motiejunas to the Detroit Pistons as part of a three-way deal last February, but the Pistons rescinded the trade after a physical revealed concerns about Motiejunas' back. Motiejunas ended up rejoining the Rockets and playing the rest of the 2015-16 season, recording a double-double (14 points and 13 rebounds) in Houston's only win over Golden State in the teams' first-round series in the spring.

          The Lithuanian then struggled this past summer in restricted free agency to attract much outside interest until after the Rockets pulled their two-year offer starting in the $7 million to $8 million range on Nov. 22. Houston was only willing to guarantee the first season of its original two-year offer in a nod to Motiejunas' injury history. The 7-footer became an unrestricted free agent on Dec. 15.