First, here’s the Sparknotes version of how we got to this point: Rockets big man Donatas Motiejunas was a restricted free agent who didn’t get any offers he liked, didn’t sign the qualifying offer, and essentially held out from Houston at the start of camp. Houston shrugged, knowing they could match any offer. Brooklyn eventually made a four-year, $37 million offer, but the Rockets matched the $31 million of it they were required to (not incentives). Motiejunas didn’t like that and refused to sign. The Rockets and Motiejunas agreed to a four-year, $35 million deal (which gave the Rockets a later opt-out date for next season’s contract, mid-July). Motiejunas came in for his physical, and something was amiss (he has a history of back issues).
Now you’re caught up.
The Rockets are now talking to both Motiejunas’ agent and the NBA league office to find a resolution, but the new deal has yet to be signed. Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronical has the latest:
“We’re in active discussions with Donatas’ representation, the league office and that’s pretty much it,” (Rockets GN Daryl) Morey said.Asked the purpose of the talks, Morey said, “A resolution.”
Morey would not answer any other questions. When asked whether the Rockets were seeking a resolution in which Motiejunas would or not rejoin the Rockets and whether Motiejunas failed his physical, Morey would only repeat his original statement.
Morey did call the negotiations contentious, which shouldn’t be a surprise because if the sides agreed to a deal and now the Rockets want to back out — because of the physical, one has to assume — you can be sure Motiejunas’ agent is angry.
The question of “when will Motiejunas join the Rockets?” seems to be changing to “if.” This is going to be an interesting resolution.