For a brief moment last week, it seemed Donatas Motiejunas and the Houston Rockets had finally come to an agreement. After holding out all season, Motiejunas and agent B.J. Armstrong got the Rockets to offer them the exact contract that they wanted -- $35 million over four years.
But Motiejunas did not rejoin the Rockets and Houston general manager Daryl Morey didn't provide any clarity when he wouldn't answer reporters' questions about the fourth-year big man's physical. Motiejunas has dealt with back problems in the past and had even failed a physical when the Rockets traded him to the Pistons last season. And recurring back issues flaring up again was one of the main reasons teams stayed away from him in free agency this summer.
Well it seems like something was out of the ordinary yet again with his physical because Thursday the Rockets announced that they will release Motiejunas, making him an unrestricted free agent.
From the Rockets:
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."
This is a rather surprising move as it hints that Houston ultimately decided it didn't want anything to do with Motiejunas because of his physical. The Rockets could have announced that Motiejunas failed his physical and made him a restricted free agent again so they could have more leverage in future contract discussions. But instead the Rockets are letting Motiejunas go.
Motiejunas is eligible to sign with any team now except for the Brooklyn Nets, since he signed an offer sheet with them that Houston matched. NBA rules stipulate that a player can't sign with a team for one year after signing an offer sheet that is matched.
Motiejunas' future is uncertain with the mystery surrounding his physical. Motiejunas is a talented player though and fairly young at 26 years old, so he could likely get an offer from a few teams needing a big man that can score in and defend the paint. But with the questionable status of his back, Montiejunas likely won't be getting any big-money offers as teams won't want to take the risk.