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Rockets Match Motiejunas’ Offer Sheet from Nets

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The Houston Rockets have decided to match the Brooklyn Nets’ four-year, $37 million offer sheet to big man Donatas Motiejunas. The 26-year-old was a restricted free agent, but now he’ll re-join the Rockets for his fifth season with the team.

Motiejunas has a lot of value as a seven-footer who can play power forward and center, with range that extends out to the three-point line. However, his injuries caused his production to dip last season and hurt his free agency stock this past summer. He was the final restricted free agent remaining on the market. The team will reportedly waive Bobby Brown to make room for Motiejunas.

Last season, Motiejunas averaged 6.2 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.1 assists. He shot a career-low 43.9 percent from the field.

It was just two seasons ago that he averaged 12 points and 5.9 rebounds in 28.7 minutes per game while shooting 50.4 percent from the field and 36.8 percent from three-point range. He started 62 games that year for the Rockets, emerging as a real difference maker who scored inside and out – particularly when Dwight Howard was sidelined due to injury. However, in March of that campaign, a herniated disk in Motiejunas’ back ruled him out for the rest of the season (including the playoffs). The Rockets would go on to make the Western Conference Finals without Motiejunas.

Last summer, he had surgery to repair the herniated disk and he missed the start of the 2015-16 season. He made his season debut in early December, but after a brief rehab stint in the D-League and 14 games with the Rockets, he was sidelined once again due to his back pain resurfacing.

Prior to last year’s trade deadline, the Rockets dealt Motiejunas and Marcus Thornton to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for a 2016 first-round pick. The three-team trade also included the Philadelphia 76ers, who would receive Joel Anthony and a second-round pick. However, the deal was voided because Motiejunas failed a physical with the Pistons. This – coupled with Motiejunas’ dip in production – may have scared some potential suitors off.

Now, Motiejunas will add some frontcourt depth to Houston’s lineup and try to improve his numbers under new head coach Mike D’Antoni.

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About Alex Kennedy

Alex Kennedy

Alex Kennedy is the Managing Editor of Basketball Insiders and this is his 10th season covering the NBA. He is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.