NBA News

Houston Rockets Trade 2016: Thornton and Motiejunas traded to Pistons

By Tamberlyn Richardson
Mar 17, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets forward Donatas Motiejunas (20) reacts after making a basket during the first quarter against the Orlando Magic at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 17, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets forward Donatas Motiejunas (20) reacts after making a basket during the first quarter against the Orlando Magic at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports Houston Rockets trade Marcus Thornton and Donatas Motiejunas to the Detroit Pistons.

This sounds like an incredible trade —- for the Detroit Pistons!!!!

While Donatas Motiejunas has been laboring in his return from back surgery he has shown repeatedly how versatile he is offensively and his work ethic is second to none. This season he’s appeared in just 14 games but the potential to return to what he was doing last season with an even higher ceiling was always there.

In the 14 games he has played less than half the minutes he did last season (13.4), but he still may have been rushed back too quickly as he reinjured his back which has kept him off the court.  His game averages were 5.6 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.0 assists while shooting 50% from the field and 41.2% from three. Last season his averages were 12.0 points, 5. 9 rebounds and 1.8 assists. If his back is genuinely okay this is a major steal for the Pistons.

But wait that’s not all they receive!

Also headed to Detroit is versatile wing Marcus Thornton who has started, been a reserve and played anywhere from the shooting guard position to small forward to power forward on the court. He’s played in 47 games this season for the Rockets, starting in 6. He’s averaged 10 points, 2.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists while shooting 33.8% from three and 40% from the field.

Houston has traded Donatas Motiejunas and Marcus Thornton to the Detroit Pistons, league sources tell @TheVertical

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) February 18, 2016

Coming back to the Rockets is Joel Anthony and the Pistons 2016 protected first round draft pick. Anthony has played in just 13 games with totals not even worth mentioning. This has to be clearing the way for a bigger trade since this truly doesn’t make any sense. Early indications (though not confirmed) are the pick is protected to the 8th seed which means the Pistons will likely be giving their first round pick to Houston this year as per Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.

In deal, Detroit will send Joel Anthony and a protected 2016 first-round pick to the Rockets, league sources tell @TheVertical

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) February 18, 2016

Marc Spears reports that Thornton has a history with GM Jeff Bower dating back to New Orleans.

New Pistons guard Marcus Thornton and Pistons GM Jeff Bower have ties dating back to New Orleans Hornets days and are still are very close.

— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) February 18, 2016

Moving forward what I find extremely odd was the indication has always been the Rockets would likely retain Motiejunas over Terrence Jones who didn’t mesh with the teams’ style. Further at the All-Star weekend James Harden repeatedly cited D-Mo’s absence as a major reason why the team was struggling this season and said with him returning the team would be so much better.

Now the team has a 2 centers and a power forward and none of them can shoot the three ball. I’m not sure what’s going on but Morey must have some grand plan, because this deal makes zero sense to me and the winner is definitely the Pistons. Unless the Rockets are privy to info regarding his back, but you have to assume the Pistons doctors will examine him prior to the deal being completed.

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