Donatas Motiejunas has reportedly signed a $37 million contract with the Nets, and the Rockets have three days to decide if they want to match.
There was a time when resigning Donatas Motiejunas was seen as a no-brainer for the Houston Rockets. After a failed attempt to trade him in February to the Detroit Pistons, it seemed that it would be no problem to negotiate him into a bargain contract this past summer. Things clearly didn’t go as planned.
Houston’s front office offered D-Mo a myriad of contracts over the course of the offseason. Negotiation took place off and on throughout the summer, and by the beginning of the season, the Rockets had a multi-year contract on the table with the first year worth $7 million. D-Mo’s camp refused to sign, presumably because of the non-guaranteed second year.
Eventually, a little over a week ago, Houston rescinded the offer. Despite how promising things looked during the summer, it became clear that the two parties would not be able to reach an agreement. Now that Motiejunas has signed an offer sheet with the Brooklyn Nets, the Rockets have three days to match.
Will Houston match the offer?
Houston GM Daryl Morey has been quoted saying, “We’re big fans of Donatas. We hope to have him at some point this year.” Indeed, Motiejunas has been a huge asset in Houston at times. Over the past two years, he averaged 15 points, 7 rebounds, and nearly 3 assists per 36 minutes. His combination of size, low-post agility, and shooting range makes him a great fit for the Rockets. Mike D’Antoni has never coached D-Mo, but he’s made it clear he’s a fan with the following quote:
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"“I think we all hope it will work out. We still like him as a player and a person. Now, we just have to see the terms. Those are Daryl’s decisions, what’s best for the organization. They’ll do what’s best for the organization. From a personal standpoint, yeah it would be great.”"
The issue with Houston matching the offer is clearly not Motiejunas’s talent or fit. Morey and the rest of the front office just aren’t sure he’s worth his price tag. The first year of the contract is reportedly worth a minimum of $9.3 million, well over what the Rockets were ever willing to spend.
The one thing that’s predictable about Houston’s front office, though, is unpredictability. Morey has made a surprising decision on more than one occasion during his tenure with the Rockets. Whether he chooses to match the Nets’ offer or not, the good news is that this whole debacle is nearly over.
Donatas Motiejunas has been one of the more efficient and beloved players in Houston over the past couple of years. Whether or not his time with the Rockets is over, there’s no room for fans to complain about his contributions.