Donatas Motiejunas lets Rockets’ qualifying offer expire

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Unsurprisingly, the deadline for Donatas Motiejunas‘ qualifying offer prompted last-ditch negotiations between him and the Rockets.

Somewhat more surprisingly, but far from unexpected, Motiejunas didn’t sign.

Calvin Watkins of ESPN:

The $4.4 million qualifying offer the Rockets sent to power forward Donatas Motiejunas has expired.

Motiejunas remains a restricted free agent. He just can’t unilaterally accept his one-year, $4,433,683 qualifying offer.

If I were the Rockets, I’d immediately lower the offer to him. An offer sheet from another team must be for at least two years, and teams will be reluctant to commit multiple years to someone with such worrisome back issues. (A multi-year offer sheet with only one guaranteed season could make sense, though I don’t know whether Motiejunas would want such a deal.) If the market pegs Motiejunas a player deserving a one-year contract, Houston has it corned. No need to bid against itself.

It was one thing for Tristan Thompson to let his qualifying offer expire last year. He was always going to make at least that amount. The only question was the exact figure.

Motiejunas’ next salary is much more fluid, and he’s taking a major risk by letting the qualifying offer expire.