Pistons coach/executive Stan Van Gundy denies the team simply changed its mind about trading for Donatas Motiejunas, as the power forward asserted, MLive’s Brendan Savage notes. The trade was voided when the Pistons said Motiejunas didn’t pass his physical, but Motiejunas, who returned to action this weekend for the Rockets after back trouble kept him out for nearly two months, insists he’s fine.
“We went through a very thorough process and we made the decision we made for the reasons that we thought it was too much risk,” Van Gundy said. “Look, I feel bad for him, too, because I understand his points in terms of his value and everything else. But we felt we had to make the decision we made.”
Motiejunas is set to enter restricted free agency this summer, so the next six weeks figure to be key for his market value. See more from the Central Division:
- The return of Mike Dunleavy is giving the Bulls a boost even though it isn’t reflected in the standings, writes Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com. The team was reportedly seeking an upgrade on the wing, as Goodwill notes, but Chicago didn’t make a significant move for one and has instead benefited from Dunleavy’s presence since his return from back surgery that knocked him out the first half of the season. The Bulls re-signed him to a three-year, $14.4MM deal this past summer.
- New coach Fred Hoiberg‘s message simply isn’t connecting with the Bulls, observes Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com. The Bulls are beset with injuries even in the wake of Dunleavy’s return, but Tuesday’s loss to the Heat dropped Chicago, which aimed for at least the conference finals, to ninth place.
- Kevin Love‘s revival following Cleveland’s coaching change was short-lived, and the max-salary signee has returned to the underwhelming performances that have marked much of his tenure with the Cavs, notes Michael Rand of the Star Tribune.