The Rockets’ stalemate with free agent big man Donatas Motiejunas has reached a new low.
Today is the final day free agents can be signed and still be traded by the trade deadline on Feb. 23. Because Daryl Morey, pictured above thinking about how he got into this situation, wants to retain his precious flexibility, he has pulled the offer he had on the table, of multiple years and $7 million guaranteed, Marc Stein reports.
It’s worth mentioning that in my moderate-to-obsessive monitoring of Rockets news and social media sphere, I haven’t seen anyone corroborate Stein’s first report, from weeks ago, let alone this one. So I’m still not 100 percent convinced the offer was ever that real, despite Stein’s deserved credibility.
It’s unclear where the next steps could be. Donuts’ people have indicated he’d be fine playing in Europe, and the Rockets can still match another team’s free agent offer, which doesn’t appear to be close to coming down the pike. I can’t imagine Donuts would take a year off from basketball, especially considering his paychecks have run out.
To his credit, Mike D’Antoni has been openly lobbying for D-Mo to sign a contract. Despite having his rotation largely set, of the starting 5 plus Eric Gordon, Corey Brewer, Sam Dekker and Nene, D’Antoni still envisions a place on the team for Motiejunas’ unique combination of size, post scoring and passing ability.
Dekker has shown some ability to play the 3 and Nene has shown flashes. But a healthy productive Donuts should be able to beat Nene for a rotation spot, and offer better rim protection, rebounding and shooting than the Brazilian (although not by much, save the rim protection).