Motiejunas' $4.4 million qualifying offer expired at midnight Sunday, but the big man still remains a restricted free agent, ESPN.com's Calvin Watkins reports.
Motiejunas' agent reportedly spoke with the Rockets on Saturday, but the two sides weren't able to strike a deal. It's still expected that Motiejunas will re-sign with the Rockets, as only a few teams would have the cap space to add the seven-footer at his desired salary. Additionally, any offer sheet extended by another team would have to be for at least two years, which probably wouldn't be an ideal arrangement given Motiejunas' history of back issues. Look for the Rockets to bring Motiejunas back at some point before the start of the season, though his limited activity in training camp could prevent him from opening the year in a rotation role.
It was reported back in June that Motiejunas was experiencing some recurring back problems that would prevent him from suiting up for the Lithuanian squad in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janiero, but the big men is now saying that he's fully recovered and is only skipping the Games due to his uncertain status as a restricted free agent. The Rockets have the right to match any offer sheet Motiejunas might sign, and both sides appear open to a reunion if the price is right. After the team signed Ryan Anderson to a four-year, $80 million contract earlier this offseason, Motiejunas might have to settle for a limited role off the bench if he returns to Houston.
Motiejunas continues to deal with a nagging back injury, making it unlikely he plays in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Sportando reports.
Motiejunas underwent back surgery in April of last year, forcing him to miss a large chunk of the start of the 2015-16 campaign. Despite being over a year removed from surgery, he says his back is still not back to full strength, which is a bit concerning considering the length of time the injury has lingered. With training camp still over three months away, he's got plenty of time to further recover from the back injury. However, we should hear more on the injury as the offseason progresses.
The 25-year-old sprung to life after a modest first two games of the series, with the double-double serving as his first of his injury-shortened season. Motiejunas was also encouragingly able to contribute from long range, adding a key dimension to a
Donatas Motiejunas will draw the start in Monday's matchup with the Warriors, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports.
Motiejunas played a reserve role in the series opener Saturday, as the Houston Rockets opted to go with a smaller lineup against the Warriors. The Rockets have indicated that because of Motiejunas' quick decision making and ball movement he will return to the starting lineup Monday. The starting situation could be fluid going forward.
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