With an October 1 deadline looming for Donatas Motiejunas and the Rockets, it doesn’t appear the two sides are closing in on a long-term deal. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (via Twitter), Motiejunas the Rockets aren’t currently negotiating, though Wojnarowski cautions there’s still time for the two sides to re-engage.
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Motiejunas received a qualifying offer worth $4,433,683 from the Rockets this summer, which gives Houston the right of first refusal, preventing the forward from signing outright with another club. The Lithuanian big man, who turned 26 this month, could sign that one-year qualifying offer and become an unrestricted free agent next summer, but he would likely prefer some longer-term security and a bigger payday.
Earlier in September, Motiejunas’ agent B.J. Armstrong publicly expressed some concern with the situation, telling Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com that the Rockets have yet to make a serious contract offer for his client. According to Armstrong, October 1 will be the moment of truth for the Rockets and Motiejunas, with resolution expected to come by that point.
October 1 is the deadline for Motiejunas to accept his qualifying offer. After that point, he remains a restricted free agent, but he’s no longer able to sign that $4.434MM QO that was on the table for the previous three months. So if the Rockets don’t offer him a deal he likes in the very near future, Motiejunas will likely take the QO and focus on unrestricted free agency in 2017. If he signs the QO, he’d also gain the ability to veto any trades involving him this season, which could come in handy, considering the Rockets nearly moved him at the 2016 trade deadline.