NBA News

Pistons get 24-hour extension to further evaluate Donatas Motiejunas

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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The Houston Rockets trade which sent Donatas Motiejunas to the Pistons may be rescinded due to uncertainty over his back.

Most Rockets fans were shocked by the trade deadline deal that sent Donatas Motiejunas and Marcus Thornton to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Joel Anthony (later sent to Philly) and a top 8 protected draft pick.

News surfaced today via Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle that the Pistons had requested and been granted an additional 24-hours to evaluate Motiejunas back.

Last spring the Lithuanian had microdiscectomy to repair disc issues as I outlined in my article April 9, 2015.

Motiejunas Back Surgery
Motiejunas Back Surgery

Motiejunas had played in just 14 games this season prior to experiencing back pain. That fact did have some worried he had either been rushed back or perhaps the surgery hadn’t been successful. It’s hard to know what the reality is because back surgery offers no exact recovery time and each individual can experience differing results. Since he had been cleared to return to the line-up it was expected he was fine. Furthermore, after the trade D-Mo was quoted as saying he was 100%.

Both Motiejunas and Terrence Jones entered this, their fourth season without signing a Rookie extension contract which meant it was unlikely the team would retain both this summer. The thought was Jones was the less desired given Motiejunas flexibility at playing either the center or power forward position and a solid and improving 3-point shot.

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Last year when the team was devastated by injury it was the efforts of James Harden, Trevor Ariza and Motiejunas which allowed Houston to secure the second seed. He recorded career highs in all major categories (points, rebounds, assists and minutes). Yet, if I’m honest the trade sent up immediately warnings Motiejunas’ back was worse than the Rockets were letting on to. Why else would they trade the player whose name had never been mentioned and who the Harden was extolling on at All-Star Weekend.   Perhaps the Rockets lost faith Motiejunas would be able to return to the same player he was or if his ceiling would be effected by the surgery, or maybe they already knew what Van Gundy’s team is now reviewing.  So, this news brings the theory of D-Mo’s surgery not being successful back into question.

As per Feigen, Stan Van Gundy stated the additional 24-hours they requested were to review the test results and consult with numerous physicians. One would also  presume the Pistons would have D-Mo undergo some on court testing.

Bottom line: the Pistons may rescind the trade if they aren’t happy with the answers they receive, and the fact SVG openly spoke of the situation does seem to indicate that is a strong possibility. If that occurs it will be bad for the Lithuanian who will then have a question mark beside his name entering free agency this summer.

Next: Ugly aftermath of trade deadline

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