NBA Rumors: Donatas Motiejunas, Houston Rockets Part Ways

By Noboru Wataya , Updated Dec 16, 2016 07:55 PM EST
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Donatas Motiejunas is now an unrestricted free-agent after the Houston Rockets released the Lithuanian bigman. In an unlikely turn of events, the Rockets rescinded their previous offer to Motiejunas following his physical examination.

Shams Charania of the Vertical of Yahoo Sports reported the Rockets sent Motiejunas following his physical. The team has not released the result of the medical examination, but their decision to release the big man would suggest red flag, particularly on Motiejunas' back issues.

The Rockets issued a press release on Motiejunas' release:

"Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that after extensive discussions with Donatas Motiejunas, his representatives, and the NBA league office, the Rockets will renounce Motiejunas and he will become an unrestricted free agent.

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

Hoops Rumors writer Luke Adams gives a proper context on Motiejunas-Rockets negotiation that extended more than two months into the season.

"This provides a surprise ending to a long saga that began when Motiejunas became a restricted free agent this past summer. Motiejunas had agreed to a four-year, $35MM deal with the Rockets after Houston matched an offer sheet from the Nets. He was set to make $8.3MM this season."

The Rockets filled in the spot left void by Motiejunas release by re-signing Bobby Brown. As for Motiejunas, he will become an unrestricted free-agent. Beyond the Nets, any team can sign the Lithuanian, who was limited to 37 games last season with back injuries. The Rockets even traded Motiejunas to the Detroit Pistons for a first-round pick, but after failing the physical, the trade was rescinded.

Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today reported that there's still a chance Motiejunas ending up with the Nets, as the league investigates the case.

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