FRIDAY, 11:00am: Brown has officially been re-signed, according to a tweet from the Rockets.
THURSDAY, 6:34pm: In a somewhat unexpected move, the Rockets have released forward Donatas Motiejunas, the team announced on its website. Motiejunas will enter the market as an unrestricted free agent.
This provides a surprise ending to a long saga that began when Motiejunas became a restricted free agent this past summer. Motiejunas had agreed to a four-year, $35MM deal with the Rockets after Houston matched an offer sheet from the Nets. He was set to make $8.3MM this season.
When the Rockets first matched the Nets’ offer sheet and Motiejunas failed to report to the team, the two sides scrapped his four-year sheet and negotiated a similar new deal, according to The Vertical’s Shams Charania.
The Rockets will sign guard Bobby Brown with the opening on their roster, Charania reports.
League representatives were contacted last week regarding Motiejunas’ situation, Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle reported earlier this week. He appeared to have a new four-year deal in place on Friday, then was sent home before the team’s game on Saturday after taking a physical. At the time, Rockets officials offered few public comments on that decision.
Motiejunas was traded to the Pistons in February, only to have that deal voided when Detroit’s medical staff expressed concerns over his surgically repaired back. He passed a physical with the Nets before signing the offer sheet, according to Feigen. Motiejunas, who had been the lone restricted free agent on the market until he signed that sheet, was limited to 37 games last season after the surgery.
Motiejunas cannot sign with the Nets at the present time, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today tweets. But that could change as the NBA reviews the unusual situation, Zillgitt adds.
Brown, 32, was waived by the Rockets earlier this month when they match Motiejunas’ offer sheet. He has appeared in six games with Houston after being out of the league since the 2009/10 season.