The National Basketball Players Association is thinking about filing a grievance with the league over the voided Donatas Motiejunas trade, reports Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports. The Pistons elected to cancel the trade on February 22nd after several medical tests failed to convince them that Motiejunas’ back was sufficiently healed from surgery last spring.
Voiding the deal sent the Lithuanian power forward back to Houston, where he received medical clearance from Rockets team doctors. He has appeared in five games since returning. Spears cites sources close to Motiejunas who fear that the Pistons’ decision could lessen his value when he becomes a restricted free agent this summer. Motiejunas underwent back surgery last April and before the trade hadn’t played for the Rockets since December 31st.
“The team doctor simply says whether you pass or don’t, although they may not do any checks,” Motiejunas said in an interview posted on the Lithuanian website Basketnews.Lt. “Those 48 hours actually just let the team decide whether they want you or not. The Pistons announced I did not pass the medical, although I surely did pass it and played even before it. I just got screwed. The injury was a pretense to call off the trade. They changed their minds.”
Pistons coach/executive Stan Van Gundy denied that accusation and said the team had legitimate concerns about Motiejunas’ long-term health. “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.
Representatives for Motiejunas didn’t think Van Gundy should have made negative public statements statements about their client’s condition, Spears writes. NBPA president Michele Roberts and a union spokesperson refused to comment to Spears about the issue.
The three-team deal, which was completed at the trade deadline, sent Motiejunas from Houston to Detroit along with Marcus Thornton. The Rockets received the Pistons’ top eight-protected first round pick and a draft-and-stash player, while Joel Anthony and a Nuggets’ second-rounder went to the Sixers. To make room for Anthony, Philadelphia released JaKarr Sampson, whom the Nuggets signed after he cleared waivers.