Pistons, NBA Void Donatas Motiejunas Trade

3:06pm: The Pistons confirmed the voiding of the trade, via press release.

“Standard with all trades, medical clearance on all players involved is required for completion. Medical clearance was not given on all players and the trade is being rescinded,” Bower said in Detroit’s statement. “In view of privacy considerations relating to medical information, we will have no further comment.”

1:15pm: The Pistons and the NBA are in the process of voiding the three-team Donatas Motiejunas trade, sources tell Shams Charania of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The power forward didn’t pass Detroit’s physical, The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski notes (on Twitter), so the deal between the Pistons, Rockets and Sixers is off. Motiejunas, Marcus Thornton and Denver’s 2017 second-round pick will return to the Rockets, the Pistons will get back Joel Anthony and their top-eight protected 2016 first-round pick, while the Sixers will once more have the rights draft-and-stash player Chukwudiebere “Chu” Maduabum. The Sixers released JaKarr Sampson to facilitate the trade, but they won’t get him back, since he’s agreed to a two-year deal with the Nuggets.

Houston had slipped beneath the luxury tax line with the trade, according to The Vertical’s Bobby Marks, so today’s news has negative financial consequences for the Rockets, who are again in line to be taxpayers. The threat that the trade might fall apart grew over the weekend when the Pistons asked for and received an extra 24 hours to examine Motiejunas, who has dealt with lingering back trouble after undergoing surgery in April. The 25-year-old has appeared in only 14 games this season.

The Pistons had latitude to seek a change to the terms of the trade, including the protection attached to the first-rounder that was to go to Houston, according to Marks (Twitter link), but instead it appears they’ve decided, with the NBA’s blessing, to nix it altogether. Rescinding the trade will leave the Pistons and Sixers with one open roster spot apiece while the Rockets will go from two open roster spots to a full 15-man roster. Houston was reportedly among the teams interested in signing veteran rebounder Reggie Evans but now would have to cut somebody to do so.

Teams typically have 72 hours to administer physicals to the players they receive via trade, so it’s possible for deals to fall apart even after clubs formally announce them, even though it’s rare. The Thunder’s doctors didn’t like what they saw when they evaluated Tyson Chandler in 2009, leading the NBA to void Oklahoma City’s trade with the Hornets that year. Pistons GM Jeff Bower was the Hornets GM then, so he’s now seen voided trades from opposite perspectives.

The death of the trade is a boost to Anthony’s job prospects, since the Sixers were reportedly poised to waive him once the deal was ratified. Still, it’s perhaps a financial loss for him, since he could have latched on elsewhere for a salary that would have gone on top of the $2.5MM he’s seeing this year on his existing contract.

Conversely, it can’t help the earning potential for Motiejunas, who’s set for restricted free agency in the summer. It was a lock that either Motiejunas or fellow soon-to-be restricted free agent Terrence Jones would leave the Rockets this summer, as Zach Lowe of ESPN.com wrote before the trade agreement last week.

The voiding of the trade scraps the pair of trade exceptions, worth $2,288,205 and $947,276, respectively, that the Rockets were able to create. It also kills off a $211,795 trade exception for the Pistons, though that one would have been virtually unusable anyway.

Which team do you think suffers the most because the trade is getting voided? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

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