In an interview with the New York Post, Donatas Motiejunas said the current rules governing restricted free agents were “unfair” to both he and the Nets ... and said he’s spoken to the players union about changing them.
“It ended up unfair both ways,” said Motiejunas, who scored just one point and missed all seven of his field-goal attempts for the Pelicans Thursday night.
The 26-year-old Motiejunas told the Post he’s spoken to representatives for the player’s union about getting rules changed for restricted free agents, so they aren’t in limbo like he was.
“They’re going to try to make sure a player is never in a situation like this,” he said.
While the players’ union and owners have agreed in principle to a new collective bargaining agreement, the actual language is still be in hammered out.
Motiejunas’s free agency went on for months after the Rockets, who held his rights, offered him what he and his agent, B.J. Armstrong, thought was inadequate. In November, the Rockets pulled a qualifying offer that led to a series of events that was in term comical and tragic.
Motiejunas signed a four-year, $37 million offer sheet with the Nets, of which only the first $500,000 was guaranteed. The Rockets matched the “principal terms” of the offer sheet, about $31 million minus player bonuses, contingent upon Motiejunas passing a physical.
Motiejunas, angered that he had lost $6 million in the process, declined to report for the physical, which permitted the Rockets to withdraw its right of first refusal and scrap the deal. At that point, the Nets lost their rights to the 7-footer. If Motiejunas, troubled by a bad back, had agreed to the physical and failed, he would have been free to join the Nets.
Motiejunas and the Rockets attempted to negotiate a new deal once last times but ultimately failed to come to terms with the Rockets renouncing his rights. That in turn made him an unrestricted free agent. Under the rules Motiejunas is trying to change, he couldn’t sign with Brooklyn and he wound up in New Orleans on a vets minimum deal.
“The team lost an asset,” Motiejunas told Basketball Insiders in a separate interview. “I lost $37, 38 million, so both sides lost in this situation. No one won in this situation actually.”