Houston Rockets’ forward Donatas Motiejunas’ $4.4 million qualifying offer extended by the team expired on Sunday without him picking it up, per Calvin Watkins of ESPN. By not taking the offer, he now becomes a restricted free agent.
According to Watkins, the two sides did meet on Saturday to discuss a new contract, but nothing concrete came of the meeting.
Motiejunas was traded to the Detroit Pistons back in February…until he wasn’t. He failed a physical upon the agreement of the deal, which allowed Detroit to return him back to sender, negating the deal and keeping him with Houston.
The seven-foot tall big man from Kaunas, Lithuania, has been with the Rockets’ organization since the 2012 season. He was the 20th overall pick in the first-round of the 2011 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves, but had his rights dealt to Houston.
Last season, he split time between the Rockets and their D-League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Recovering from a herniated disk in his back, he played in just 37 games last year for Houston, averaging 6.2 points and 2.9 rebounds per game in 14.8 minutes of action. His best season came in 2014-2015, when he started 62 games for the team, averaging 12 points and 5.9 rebounds per contest.
With the hiring of head coach Mike D’Antoni in the offseason, where Motiejunas fits into the up-tempo Rockets style is still to be seen, if he even returns to the team. The team signed forward Ryan Anderson in the offseason to play the power forward spot, and seems content to go forward with Clint Capela as their center of the future.