After undergoing a physical with the Brooklyn Nets, Houston Rockets restricted free-agent forward Donatas Motiejunas is close to signing an offer sheet with the Nets, league sources told The Vertical.
An offer sheet could be signed as soon as Friday, league sources said.
Under league rules, the Rockets will have three days to match the offer and retain Motiejunas – or lose him to the Nets. Houston had been offering a deal in the $8 million annual range but short on guaranteed length.
Depending on the robustness of the deal – in terms of money and guaranteed years – the Rockets have held a strong interest in matching an offer sheet for Motiejunas and getting him back into the team’s lineup, league sources said.
Motiejunas and the Rockets had been unable to come to terms on an agreement, causing the 7-footer to miss training camp, Houston’s 11-7 start and early hold on fourth place in the Western Conference.
The uncertainty around Houston’s willingness to agree to a long-term deal with Motiejunas had been focused on his recurring back issues. Motiejunas, who played 37 games last season, had been examined by Nets doctors and medical staff in the past week, league sources said, and the results gave comfort to Brooklyn to move forward on the offer sheet.
For the Nets, this would be the third restricted free agent offer sheet executed under new general manager Sean Marks. July offer sheets to Portland guard Allen Crabbe (four years, $75 million) and Miami guard Tyler Johnson (four years, $50 million) were matched. With a franchise devoid of draft picks and talent, Marks has been determined to find creative ways to improve the Nets’ roster.
Taking a shot at Motiejunas is a preemptive move on next summer’s free-agent market. The Nets would pair Motiejunas at power forward with center Brook Lopez.
The Rockets had a three-way trade that would’ve sent Motiejunas to Detroit voided last season. The Pistons’ doctors failed Motiejunas’ physical exam because of his back.
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