NBA Rumors: Knicks To Pursue Donatas Motiejunas?
Donatas Motiejunas, the Houston Rockets stretch-4, could be signing with the New York Knicks ahead of the new season, per league sources.Advertisement
Motiejunas, a restricted free agent, is yet to sign a qualifying offer worth $3.4 million since he wishes to ink a more lucrative, longterm contract to stay in Houston.
However, the Rockets haven’t shown any interest in offering the Lithuanian a new contract.
Since Houston can match any offer sheet that Motiejunas receives, suitors haven’t shown much interest in pursuing the sweet-shooting forward, who has a history of back injuries.
However, Motiejunas and his agent will make a decision on his future on Oct. 1, the deadline for restricted free agents to sign qualifying offers.
“They haven’t made us a serious offer. Our moment of truth will be Oct. 1. We’ll make a decision on that day,” said BJ Armstong, Motiejunas’ agent, in a chat with ESPN.
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Donatas Motiejunas: Do Knicks have cap space?
New York has a payroll of nearly $103 million for the 2016-17 season and are pretty much capped out. As of this writing, they are not in a position to make a lucrative offer sheet for Motiejunas.
However, there are a few ways for them to create some room for Motiejunas. They could either trade away the contracts of Kyle O’Quinn ($3.9 million) and Justin Holiday ($1 million) to other teams or pursue sign-and-trade options with the Rockets.
If Phil Jackson and the Knicks are serious about pursuing Motiejunas, it’s always possible to work around the payroll.
The Rockets begin their training camp on Sept. 24 but there is still no clarity over Motiejunas’ future.
“There’s only so much we can do based on the current CBA,” said Motiejunas’ agent, pointing to the fact that his client is in a limbo since Rockets can match any offer from other teams but are unwilling to shell out money to begin with.
“I’m not frustrated — this is what it is. We’ll know where the Rockets stand by [Oct. 1]. All deals get done in the 11th hour,” added the agent of the Rockets power forward.
Prior to February’s deadline, Houston traded Motiejunas to the Pistons but the trade was vetoed due to Detroit’s concerns about the player’s back.
When healthy, Donatas Motiejunas is one of the best two-way stretch-4’s in the league. During the 2014-15 season, he averaged 12 points and 5.9 rebounds from 28 minutes per game.