Donatas Motiejunas' Nets Offer Sheet Matched by Rockets: Details, Reaction

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 24:  James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets and Donatas Motiejunas #20 of the Houston Rockets talk during the game against the Golden State Warriors in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs on April 24, 2016 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The Houston Rockets matched the offer sheet from the Brooklyn Nets and re-signed forward Donatas Motiejunas on Monday, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical and Mark Berman of Fox 26.

"It wasn't a tough decision," Rockets owner Leslie Alexander said, per Berman. "We don't let players that we think are really going to be good players in the future get away."

Per Wojnarowski, the Nets offer sheet was for four years and "likely" $35 million. The deal included "protections against recurring back problems that have sidelined Motiejunas" and "delivers the ability to void the final two years of the contract, as well as an opportunity to bail on the second season before the end of the 2016-17 season."

However, Motiejunas "was a no-show" for his physical, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle on Tuesday. Feigen added the Rockets are weighing their options and that the team could return Motiejunas to restricted free agency.

On Tuesday, Wojnarowski reported Motiejunas will not report to the team and that the Rockets and the player's representatives are "discussing next steps." Wojnarowski added that the Rockets could leave the current deal open and wait or return the player to restricted free agency, as Feigen noted. If they did so, Motiejunas couldn't sign with the Nets for a year, per Wojnarowski.

"We have our rights," B.J. Armstrong, Motiejunas' agent, told Feigen. "We're not going to show up. We'll see what happens. We'll see what the Rockets do."

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Calvin Watkins of ESPN noted at the time that Motiejunas has two days to report to the team.

According to Watkins on Wednesday, the failure to report stems from a difference of $6 million from the offer sheet he signed with the Nets. Watkins reported that "based on the CBA, the Rockets only had to match the principle terms of the offer sheet," which totaled $31 million instead of the $37 million he signed for with Brooklyn.

Motiejunas, 26, averaged 6.2 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 14.8 minutes per game during the 2015-16 regular season, starting 22 games for the Rockets. He made an even bigger impact in the postseason, starting four games in the first round against the Golden State Warriors and averaging 8.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 19.7 minutes per contest.

Motiejunas found his stride late last season and has played well for the team in the past, which made his return a priority for Houston. He did appear in just 37 games last season, as a back injury cut his season in half, and he never replicated the 12.0 points and 5.9 rebounds per game he gave the Rockets in the 2014-15 campaign.

The Rockets looked like a team that lacked chemistry throughout the 2015-16 season, which virtually guaranteed that changes to the roster were imminent. The power forward position was a weak point in general, though the addition of Ryan Anderson addressed that need.

Motiejunas' back issues will be a concern, as will his inconsistent play, but Houston's roster shake-up should benefit the Lithuanian (and the team in general), as he seems like an excellent fit in head coach Mike D'Antoni's system.

Motiejunas seems unlikely to ever be a star, but he's a solid player who can give the Rockets solid minutes and round out their frontcourt rotation.


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