Houston matched an offer sheet that the forward signed with the Brooklyn Nets.
ESPN’s Calvin Watkins reported he was “fighting for his rights.”
“We know our rights,” Motiejunas’s agent, B.J. Armstrong, said. “We don’t have a problem with the Rockets at all. We understand the rules fully.”
The seven-footer has had an adventurous couple of years with Houston. The team agreed to trade him to the Pistons just 11 months after he underwent back surgery, but the trade was voided after Motiejunas failed his physical. He became a restricted free agent after last season, and after a long contract dispute with the Rockets he finally signed with Brooklyn this week, only to see Houston match the offer.
If the Rockets choose to release Motiejunas back into restricted free agency, he will not be permitted to sign with the Nets again this year. Since he went unsigned past Nov. 23, he cannot be traded.
The 26-year-old was the 20th pick in the 2011 draft out of Lithuania, and debuted with the Rockets in 2012–13 after signing a four-year rookie scale deal. After averaging 12 points in 28.7 minutes per game in 2014–15, he saw the floor for an average of just 14.8 minutes last season, posting 6.2 points and 2.9 rebounds.