Report: Rockets trade Donatas Motiejunas, Marcus Thornton to Pistons for first-rounder

Getty Images
1 Comment

The Pistons are loading up on versatile wings.

First, Tobias Harris.

Now, reported target Donatas Motiejunas.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

Motiejunas has played just 14 games (and struggled in them) this season due to back issues. If he gets healthy, he could be excellent as a stretch four next to Andre Drummond in Stan Van Gundy’s system.

But his health should be a major concern, especially because he’ll enter free agency – likely restricted – this summer. How much will Detroit pay the 25-year-old with back issues?

Marcus Thornton has quietly had a nice season as a high-usage reserve scoring guard, which is exactly what the Pistons needed after trading Brandon Jennings. Thornton will also be a free agent this summer, but more importantly for Detroit, he can help this year’s playoff push.

The Rockets get a nice return for those two players, neither of whom were locks to return to Houston next season.

The pick very likely conveys this year.

If the season ended today, the Pistons would be the No. 14 seed in the lottery and have just a 1.8% chance of keeping the pick (by jumping into the top three in the lottery). Detroit – five games better than the NBA’s eighth-worst team – is extremely unlikely to fall far enough for the protections to kick in.

Joel Anthony was a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency center in Detroit. He’ll likely fill a similar role with the Rockets – unless they trade Dwight Howard today, though that seems increasingly unlikely.