For months. Donatas Motiejunas, the seven-foot Rockets big man, and his agent, B.J. Armstrong made it clear they either wanted a big deal from Houston or the freedom to find work elsewhere.
Now, it appears they will get their wish ... and Brooklyn could be that alternate destination for the restricted free agent.
Adrian Wojnarowski first tweeted the news Thursday morning.
Brooklyn had Houston RFA Donatas Motiejunas visit for a physical, weighing signing him to an offer sheet, league sources tell @TheVertical.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) December 1, 2016
Later Woj wrote on The Vertical...
After undergoing a physical with the Brooklyn Nets, Houston Rockets restricted free-agent forward Donatas Motiejunas is close to signing an offer sheet with the Nets, league sources told The Vertical.
An offer sheet could be signed as soon as Friday, league sources said.
Under league rules, the Rockets will have three days to match the offer and retain Motiejunas – or lose him to the Nets. Houston had been offering a deal in the $8 million annual range but short on guaranteed length.
Depending on the robustness of the deal – in terms of money and guaranteed years – the Rockets have held a strong interest in matching an offer sheet for Motiejunas and getting him back into the team’s lineup, league sources said.
Marc Stein and David Pick, among others, wrote that the Nets are satisfied with his physical and prepared to make the offer within 24 hours. Motiejunas, 26, has had two back surgeries and following a physical exam, the Pistons reneged on a proposed trade involving him last February.
The Nets, sources say, are "comfortable" where Motiejunas is medically and planning an offer sheet Houston will have three days to match.— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) December 1, 2016
Donatas Motiejunas, I'm told, has no medical issues. Brooklyn is signing him within 24 hours.— David Pick (@IAmDPick) December 1, 2016
Sources told ESPN.com that the Rockets pulled their most recent offer to Motiejunas on Tuesday night, deciding that they had kept it on the table long enough without being able to come to terms with the Lithuanian forward.
Morey, however, told the Houston Chronicle that the expiration of the Rockets’ offer to Motiejunas would not preclude matching an offer sheet from Brooklyn. He said he has not been given an indication about what the Nets' offer will be.
"We're big fans of Donatas," Morey said. "We hope to have him at some point this year.
"It's our understanding he will probably sign something in the next day. We won't know until it's official. We don't know how much it will be."
The Nets currently have $18.6 million in cap space —and a maximum of 15 players on their roster. They would have to free up a roster spot before tendering the offer sheet.
The Nets would have use a significant amount of that cap horde to dissuade Houston, who are just over the salary cap, but well below the luxury tax threshold. If on the other hand the Nets land Motiejunas, they could use him next to Brook Lopez in Kenny Atkinson’s motion offense or, if they want, entertain offers for Lopez, which could help them acquire draft picks.
Motiejunas is both a deft passer and a solid three point threat, particularly from the corners. Lopez’s passing and three point shot have dramatically improved this season in Atkinson’s offense.
The move, if it takes place, would be the latest aggressive pursuit of a restricted free agent. In July, the Nets offered Miami’s Tyler Johnson $50 million and Portland’s Allen Crabbe $70 million. Both teams matched, but not long after, Sean Marks was unabashed. He said the Nets would be willing to pursue other free agents.
The timing of the offer is interesting. As of last Wednesday, Motiejunas cannot be signed and traded this season. Teams must wait 90 days before they can players and with the trade deadline February 23, anyone signed after November 23 can’t be dealt.
- Sources: Donatas Motiejunas close to signing Nets offer sheet - Adrian Wojnarowski - The Vertical
- Nets preparing offer sheet for Donatas Motiejunas - Jonathan Feigen - Houston Chronicle
- Nets have every reason to try to steal Donatas Motiejunas from Rockets - Danny LeRoux - Sporting News
- Woj: Nets meet with Donatas Motiejunas, consider signing him to offer sheet - Benny Nadeau - The Brooklyn Game
- Nets try the offer-sheet game again with reported Donatas Motiejunas deal - James Herbert - CBS Sports
- Donatas Motiejunas likely to receive offer from Brooklyn - Darren Yuvan - The Dream Shake