The Brooklyn Nets made the biggest effort to sign Houston Rockets restricted free agent Donatas Montiejunas both during the offseason and into the regular season, but now they will be the long NBA team unable to sign the big man.
Two weeks ago, the Nets tendered Montiejunas a four-year, $37 million deal, which was matched by the Rockets. Montiejunas, however, refused to show up to the team within two days as required. Houston would go on and withdraw their refusal notice and and the Rockets worked out a new deal with Montiejunas, which also fell through. The Rockets would ultimately renounced his rights on Thursday, making Montiejunas an unrestricted free agent.
Montiejunas is now free to sign with any team except the Brooklyn Nets.
Following up on the Donatas Motiejunas situation: he cannot sign with the Brooklyn Nets, I’ve been told. Otherwise, he’s unrestricted.
— Jeff Zillgitt (@JeffZillgitt) December 16, 2016
As per the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, a team that signs a restricted free agent to an offer sheet is unable to acquire that player for one year if the original team matches the offer sheet. Because of this, Brooklyn will be unable to sign Montiejunas until December, and by then he will likely be under contract with a new franchise.
While it’s unlikely that the Rockets intentionally blocked the Nets from acquiring the former first round pick, the end results sucks for a Nets squad that seemed to be the one team who not only can afford Montiejunas’ contract demands, but would also give him significant minutes since the team is so devoid of talent.
Now, Montiejunas is between a rock and a hard place. Only a handful of teams will be able to sign him without exceeding the salary cap. A Lithuanian native, Montiejunas could also return to Europe for the remainder of the year before attempting to return to the NBA. As for the Nets – they’ll need to look elsewhere for a big man.