The San Antonio Spurs are adding some depth towards the end of the season, as they intend to sign forward Donatas Motiejunas. The news was first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Spurs are nearing a deal with veteran NBA F/C Donatas Motiejunas, league sources tell ESPN. He’s been playing in China for the past two seasons.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 23, 2019
Motiejunas, a seven-footer, has five years of NBA experience, but hasn’t played since the 2016-17 season. His history with the league has been very odd.
A first-round draft pick in 2011, Motiejunas debuted in the 2012-13 season for the Houston Rockets. After four years with Houston, he became a restricted free agent. He signed an offer sheet with the Brooklyn Nets, which the Rockets matched.
However, due to the structure of the contracts, Houston didn’t have to match the full price, and their contract was about $6 million less than the $37 million that Brooklyn was offering. Upset, Motiejunas held out and never reported to camp. The sides initially agreed to terms on a new contract, but after Motiejunas took a physical, Houston backed out of the contract and renounced Motiejunas’ rights.
Motiejunas signed a much smaller contract with the New Orleans Pelicans, but never really found his rhythm, and was out of the league by the summer. Since then, he’s been playing professionally in China.
Golden State Warriors fans, of course, remember Motiejunas for something else. In the first round of the 2015-16 playoffs, Motiejunas fell to the floor, leaving a wet spot on the court. A moment later, Steph Curry stepped on the wet spot, fell awkwardly, and injured his knee. He never seemed quite the same those playoffs.
Motiejunas will bring some depth to a San Antonio squad that waived Pau Gasol earlier in the year. He’ll be available to play for the team during the playoffs.