The Nets signed Donatas Motiejunas to an offer sheet on Friday and the timing of it was no accident, Marc Stein of ESPN.com writes. Brooklyn hopes that by waiting until after November 23 to sign Motiejunas, the Rockets will further consider not matching, as that was the last day they could have signed him and still been allowed to trade him this season. If Houston matches now, the big man can’t be traded for a full year without his consent.
Stein also notes that Brooklyn hired former longtime Rockets executive Gianluca Pascucci as its director of international scouting during the offseason and there’s likely a correlation between the hiring of Pascucci and the Nets offer to Motiejunas.
Here’s more from around the league:
- Luol Deng is struggling in his first season with the Lakers and the chatter about whether he fits in on Los Angeles’ young, promising team is expected to continue, Stein adds in the same piece. Deng signed a four-year, $72MM deal with the team in the offseason.
- Nikola Jokic will miss at least a week as he recovers from a sprained wrist, Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post relays. “Talking to Nikola, he wants to play right when he can catch the ball,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “I think we’ll probably be a little more cautious than that on this road trip, maybe get it looked at again just to kind of see where it’s at once the swelling goes down.”
- Jake Rauchbach of Basketball Insiders examines how Russell Westbrook and James Harden are producing eye-popping numbers on the Thunder and Rockets, respectively. Both players signed extensions with their respective teams this offseason.