Pistons void deal with Rockets

Because of a bad back, Donatas Motiejunas will be back in Houston.

Because the 7-foot forward could not get clearance for a back injury that required surgery nearly a year ago, the Pistons voided a three-team trade that included the Rockets and 76ers.

Yahoo Sports was first to report that physicians and specialists who examined Motiejunas on Monday refused to sign off on his health.

As a result, Motiejunas and guard Marcus Thornton will return to Houston and the Pistons will get back the 2016 first-round draft choice that was surrounded in the deal at the trade deadline on Thursday. In addition, Joel Anthony, who was traded from Detroit to the Rockets and then sent on to Philadelphia for the rights to Nigerian forward Chukwudiebere Maduabum, will return to the Pistons.

After undergoing back surgery late last season that forced him to miss the playoffs, Motiejunas had several setbacks in his recovery and has played only 14 games this season. The last NBA game he played was on Dec. 31 against Golden State, when he had to leave after just six minutes due to soreness in his back. Motiejunas was assigned for rehabilitation with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA D-League on Jan. 30 and played three games there before the All-Star break. He rejoined the Rockets last week and took part in a practice and declared himself 100 percent healthy.

The 25 year old from Lithuania is slated to become a restricted free agent on July 1. The Rockets had regarded the top 8-protected draft pick they were getting from Detroit as a key building block for the offseason.

Motiejunas averaged 12 points and 5.9 rebounds in 2014-15, but just 5.6 points and 2.1 rebounds this season.

The move comes 22 years after the Rockets voided a trade with the Pistons when forward Sean Elliott could not pass a physical. In that case, Robert Horry and Matt Bullard returned to Houston, where later that season they would become members of the first championship team in Rockets franchise history.

8 Comments

  1. Kay Stinit says:

    Houston is one those teams that fall into the most disliked category. That, of course, is exactly where they should be. Any time a team refuses to play together, and when one player is such a ball hog, that is where they end up. What Houston needs, if they really want to get better, is to fire the GM, clean their entire slate of players, bring up the IQ of the fans to at least average, and hire a GM who actually understands the NBA, and that includes all the subtleties and intangibles.

  2. Champ says:

    ‘Houston We Got A Problem”

  3. ron says:

    “The Rockets had regarded the top 8-protected draft pick they were getting from Detroit as a key building block for the offseason.”

    The pocket Rockets are officially a mess and beyond repair. This team now needs to be blown up and rebuilt entirely.

  4. So, is this translated to mean that the Rockets were trying to knowingly trade an injured player??

  5. Tomahawk Jones says:

    I scream “Oorah Bandidos” every chance that I get!

    You know why? Because I’m too legit to quit!

  6. Miguel says:

    What a bummer.

  7. Tom says:

    Ouch… Must be awkward for those players to be sent back, but they are professionals.