Report: Donatas Motiejunas near deal to sign with Pelicans


The Houston Rockets saw so little future in Donatas Motiejunas, they decided to release him after he failed a physical with the team. The Rockets could have easily held on to his rights (by just failing him on the physical, which would have returned him to restricted free agent status) but they chose to let him go and seek his next chance somewhere else.

That chance appears to be in New Orleans, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports and Marc Stein of ESPN.

The Pelicans have waived veteran wing Reggie Williams to create a roster spot for this move.

This is a good roll of the dice by the Pelicans, and getting Motiejunas on a veteran minimum contract (likely with options for next season and incentives if he plays well) minimizes the risk. The Pelicans are looking for anyone who could play next to Anthony Davis — we know it’s not Omer Asik or Alexis Ajinca — and Motiejunas’ ability to space the floor with his shot seems like a natural fit. Especially with the up-tempo, pace-and-space style Alvin Gentry would prefer to run.

This is a big financial step back from where Motiejunas was just a few weeks back. Brooklyn had signed him to a team-friendly, incentive-filled four-year, $37 million contract, but Houston matched the core $31 million of it (all they had to do). After Motiejunas refused to report, he reached a four-year, $35 million deal with Houston (that gave the team more time to decide on future year options), but then came in a failed his physical.

Now we just need to see if Motiejunas can get healthy and back on the court.