Donatas Motiejunas‘ decision not to report to the Rockets is related to a $6MM difference between the offer sheet he signed with the Nets and the deal he’d have to sign with Houston, reports Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com. As has been previously reported, the Nets’ offer had a base value of $35MM over four years and could have maxed out at $37MM, but the Rockets’ deal would only be worth $31MM.
[RELATED: Donatas Motiejunas not reporting to Rockets]
When a team matches an offer sheet for a restricted free agent, that team is only obligated to match the “principal terms” of the offer sheet, as cap expert Larry Coon explains in his CBA FAQ. Those principal terms include bonuses that are considered “likely” for both teams, and incentives based on generally recognized league honors.
In the case of Motiejunas’ offer sheet with the Nets, the deal was reported to include $4MM in likely bonuses and $2MM in unlikely bonuses. The exact details of those incentives aren’t known, but it appears the Rockets don’t believe they’re required to match those terms, and Motiejunas’ camp either disagrees with that view or is unhappy about it. If the Rockets are correct, it raises questions about why Motiejunas’ agents would want those terms in the Nets’ offer sheet in the first place.
[RELATED: What’s next for Donatas Motiejunas?]
According to Watkins, the Rockets are open to working out a new deal with Motiejunas, and his reps are willing to discuss that possibility. Houston would want to do something in the $31MM range, and would want to push back the decision date on his 2017/18 salary, per the ESPN scribe. The Nets’ offer sheet called for that full salary to become guaranteed on March 1, 2017.
In my look earlier today at possible scenarios for Motiejunas and the Rockets, I noted that the team could withdraw its first refusal exercise notice on the Nets’ offer sheet, then negotiate a new contract with the 26-year-old. While that may be the most likely outcome at this point, agent B.J. Armstrong is also open to receiving a new offer sheet from another team, says Watkins. It’s not clear, however, if Houston would withdraw its first refusal notice unless GM Daryl Morey was confident he could get something done with Motiejunas.