Reports: Donatas Motiejunas to sign 4-year deal with Rockets

NBA.com Staff

The drama and the Texas standoff is finally over. Donatas Montiejunas is re-signed and ready to play for the Rockets.

According to a variety of reports, and first reported by The Vertical, the team and player agreed to terms Friday morning by ironing out the kinks of the contract. Montiejunas will get as much as $37 million if he reaches all bonuses and no less than $31 million. Only the first year of the deal is guaranteed and there’s an opt-out in July.




ESPN.com’s Calvin Watkins notes a key part of the deal to pay attention to going forward:

The key to the deal, which is pending a physical, is a $9 million guarantee for 2017-18. The Rockets will have until mid-July to make a decision on that.

Only the first year of the contract, valued at $8.5 million, is fully guaranteed. The next three years of the deal are nonguaranteed, sources said.

The Rockets pulled an offer sheet to Motiejunas on Friday after he signed a $37 million offer sheet with the Brooklyn Nets last week. The Rockets matched the sheet, but without $6 million in incentive clauses, and Motiejunas declined to report for a physical.

The new deal can be worth up to $37 million if certain incentives are met, sources said.

This was an unusual situation between the seven-footer and the Rockets. They tried to trade him to Detroit before last February’s deadline but the Pistons voided the deal, citing issues with his back. Montiejunas returned to the Rockets and settled back in as part of the playing rotation, but then free agency beckoned last summer.

He sat untouched as a restricted free agent, unable to work out a deal in Houston or attract interest from other teams until the Brooklyn Nets tendered a four-year deal worth $37 million that included $6 million in incentives. The Rockets matched the deal but were under no obligation to match the incentives, thus placing a wedge between them and agent BJ Armstrong.

Montiejunas had a one-year waiting period to be traded and had to consent on any deal. The Rockets pulled the offer sheet but then the sides settled on a four-year deal that will likely pay roughly $35 million. By coming back with another deal, the Rockets can now trade Montijunas within three months without his consent.

What happens next is anyone’s guess. New coach Mike D’Antoni believes Montiejunas will benefit the system, but again, the Rockets could revisit trade options and therefore his stay in Houston could be a short one. By keeping him in the fold. Rockets GM Daryl Morey has held onto an asset that he can keep for the Rockets, or swap for another asset.