The New Orleans Pelicans are on the verge of agreeing a deal to sign Lithuanian big man Donatas Motiejunas. The former Houston Rockets power forward will sign a one-year veteran minimum deal. Motiejunas is expected to earn roughly $600k throughout the one-year deal. Small forward Reggie Williams has been waived, to make room for the incoming Motiejunas.
The Pelicans are in the process of finalizing a one-year deal with Donatas Motiejunas at the veteran minimum, according to league sources.
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) January 1, 2017
New Orleans Pelicans Set to Sign Donatas Motiejunas
Motiejunas, 26, will be glad to finally return to basketball, after a turbulent off-season. Unable to reach a deal in Houston, Motiejunas has found a home at last. Negotiations lasted an age in Houston, at one point Motiejunas even thought he was on his way to Brooklyn. The Nets made a contract offer, but the Rockets matched Brooklyn’s offer before the deadline. After further discussions with Houston, the Rockets agreed to release Motiejunas.
Motiejunas played 37 games last season in Houston, averaging 6.2 points and 2.9 rebounds.
Reports suggested that if Motiejunas was going to join any team, it would have been the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers brought Motiejunas in for an “audition” earlier this week, but no deal was offered. So with Motiejunas heading to New Orleans, what should Pelicans fans expect?
Motiejunas is a 7-foot power forward, capable of playing center if necessary. Drafted in 2011, Motiejunas would go on to play 214 games in four seasons with the Rockets. Anthony Davis is clearly the main man in New Orleans, so this signing shouldn’t affect his minutes in any way. Pelicans fans can expect Motiejunas to play minimal minutes alongside rookie Cheick Diallo.
It’s difficult to understand why the Pelicans needed to make this move with so many bigs on the roster. Pelicans fans can expect Motiejunas to either become a solid rotation player, or a low minutes bench warmer. When you break this move down, it makes more financial sense than basketball sense.