This was the only way it could end.
After months of twists and turns, contract signings, physicals passed and failed and miscommunications, the Rockets have cut ties with Donatas Motiejunas, renouncing their rights to him and letting him walk as an unrestricted free agent.
After the two sides agreed to a contract last week and the Rockets told Donuts to go home following his physical just a few days ago, this outcome increasingly seemed like a likelihood. That Donuts removed the Rockets from his Twitter bio, while a little silly as as a news development, sealed the deal in my mind. The Rockets were there, in his bio, after they tried to trade him and wouldn’t sign him to a deal all summer in the fall. It felt like that was the moment Donuts knew, and told us all, that he wasn’t coming back for good.
For Daryl Morey’s part, he’s been a professional in all of this. The Rockets matched the Nets’ offer with several hours before the deadline, then renegotiated with D-Mo after he refused to show for the initial physical. I suspect there will be some anonymous quotes coming out soon about just why this happened, but for now, this is all we’ve got.
“Donatas was a true professional throughout his four seasons with the Rockets,” Morey said in the team’s only official statement. “We wish Donatas the best moving forward and want to thank him for his contributions both on the court and in the community.”
In conjunction with the move, Bobby Brown has apparently been re-signed, a small surprise to me, considering how well Gary Payton II has been playing in the D-League. And one final cruel twist, the one team that wanted D-Mo, the Brooklyn Nets, still cannot sign him for a year.
Who knows when or where Donuts will play professional basketball next. There have been rumors that Utah is interested, and it would be a kick in the groin to see him suit up in their uniform. But, considering all he’s been through, and considering the lifespan of an NBA career is at times devastatingly short, I hope he gets another shot, and soon.
Good luck and godspeed, Donuts. You will be missed.