Donatas Motiejunas may no longer be a Houston Rocket, but just like an old flame you check up on from time to time, it’s compelling to see where D-Mo goes from here. Apparently, he’s had some interest from Tinseltown.
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne, Motiejunas just recently had a workout for the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lake Show is dealing with an injury to Larry Nance Jr. that could put him out for a month or more, so the team is examining possible depth options on the front line.
Sources say D-Mo was impressive in his time on the court, but team management is still weighing whether or not to sign the Lithuanian big man and ex-first-rounder. According to Shelburne, the holdup isn’t D-Mo’s health, but the impact his signing would have on the other Lakers frontcourt players.
Word is DMo was impressive in his workout w/ the Lakers, so this is more about his impact on the rotation rather than health concerns— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) December 28, 2016
The Lakers are said to think pretty highly of Julius Randle and former Rockets Tarik Black and Thomas Robinson and are concerned about the impact integrating another new piece into the rotation that would demand court time would have on their young players’ development.
Black was also recently sidelined with an ankle injury, which may be why the Lakers were investigating D-Mo, though he’s recently been reactivated, and Luke Walton should have him back seeing action soon, which could be why interest has subsequently fizzled.
The Lakers also have 19-year-old Ivica Zubac, who has spent time in both the Association and the D-League. He may be young and inexperienced, but he’s also 7’1” and 265 pounds, so the team likely wants to keep a close eye on his development.
All this is just further illustration as to why it was such a shame the Rockets and D-Mo/agent B.J. Armstrong couldn’t come to an understanding. In light of the news that Houston is looking at possibly trading for Kosta Koufos, management obviously feels the roster could use another big. And with D-Mo, at least for the moment, unable to even get any traction with a 12-24 team that’s battling injuries to it’s front line, the situation with the Rockets still seems like a terribly missed opportunity for both team and player.
The Rockets still need someone in the front court, Motiejunas is still unemployed, and Armstrong isn’t collecting any commission. Feels like a real lose-lose-lose, doesn’t it?
Anyway, good luck, D-Mo. You may not be a Rocket anymore, but a small part of us will always have feelings for you. We’ll be watching, if only from afar.