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Motiejunas situation unsettled, but Nets appear out of it

Memphis Grizzlies v Houston Rockets Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Donatas Motiejunas time with the Houston Rockets may or may not be over, but according to capologists, he won’t be able to join the Nets under any circumstances.

It’s complicated.

On Monday, the Rockets GM Daryl Morey said Rockets are 'in active discussions' with Motiejunas' reps and the league on his status. He would answer no questions other than to say he is hoping the talks would lead to a “resolution.”

"We're in active discussions with them and the league office," Morey said. "We're in continuous discussions. I can't really say more. All three parties matter."

Motiejunas agreed to sign a new deal with Houston on Friday. It was not based on the Nets offer sheet, but a new deal the two sides worked out after the Rockets matched the “principle terms” of the offer sheet, but not the $6 million in incentives the Nets included. That angered Motiejunas agent. So they went back to the drawing board.

The Rockets had in effect thrown out the Nets offer sheet. But since the Rockets had initially matched it, what is called a "first refusal exercise notice," the Nets would not be able to sign for trade for Motiejunas for a full calendar year, under league rules.

On Saturday, Motiejunas went for his physical. The big issue is his back. He’s undergone two back surgeries in his career. At that point, for whatever reason, things changed. That night, Motiejunas wanted to work out with the Rockets, but says he was told he had failed the physical. The Rockets wanted more medical information according to reports.

Things also got contentious. Morey wouldn’t comment Monday on whether Motiejunas would ultimately join the team and Motiejunas made a significant change to his Twitter profile. It no longer listed him as a member of the Rockets, but simply “basketball player.” A sportscaster who spoke with Motiejunas said he wants to move on.

So where does this leave the Nets? Not in any better situation than last week when the Rockets matched. If Motiejunas had failed the physical for a contract based on the Nets offer sheet, he would have been free to sign with Brooklyn, but now, say capologists, they’re out of the picture, still prohibited from signing him.

Here’s Albert Namad of Heat Hoops explanation. It’s complicated.

Confused by the illogic? You’re not alone. We checked with a capologist who used to work for the league and his assessment was the same: the Nets are out of it, adding, “but it makes no sense at all.”

One would have to assume that Motiejunas’ agent, B.J. Armstrong, would like to have the Nets in the mix. Remember the Nets were the only team to offer Motiejunas anything ... and he recently passed a physical with their doctors. If Motiejunas goes back into restricted free agency, the pickings are are likely to be slim. Motiejunas would have failed two physicals in 10 months. A proposed trade at February’s deadline was voided when the Pistons physicians wouldn’t vouch for his health.

Still, we should stay tuned. This story has had various twists and turns over the past six months and the way things are going, it could change again on Tuesday.