The Detroit Pistons were widely considered to be the biggest winners of the trade deadline, but part of that haul has been voided after Donatas Montiejunas failed his physical.
The Detroit Pistons made the biggest splash during last week’s trade deadline, as much for the future as for this season, in acquiring Tobias Harris from the Orlando Magic for Brandon Jennings and Ersan Ilyasova. The Pistons swung another big deal on deadline day, acquiring Donatas Motiejunas and Marcus Thornton for the Pistons’ 2016 first round draft pick (which was top-eight protected) and Joel Anthony.
The Pistons did their due diligence, insisting on a 72-hour extension in order to conduct Motiejunas’ physical, and on Monday afternoon the news came out that DMo had in fact failed his physical.
That means that all components of this deal from the Piston and Rocket points of view are voided. The Pistons get their draft pick back, which may have greater value as time goes on if they can’t right their quickly sinking ship.
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The Rockets had sent Anthony to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for one of the Sixers’ plethora of second round draft picks in order to get under the luxury tax, but that aspect of the trade is voided as well, meaning that Anthony comes back to Detroit, the Rockets lose the Sixer draft pick and also go back over the luxury tax line.
The one saving grace in this part of the deal is that Anthony is spared the indignity of being a Philadelphia 76er.
The Rockets also must deal with the reality that Donatas Motiejunas is not nearly ready to return to action, certainly not to the degree that each party involved had hoped.
On the Piston side of things, with Anthony Tolliver now out at least for Monday’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers after spraining his knee against the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday, the Pistons could have used the added front court depth that Motiejunas could have provided.
They could have also used Marcus Thornton’s shooting off the bench, and it’ll be interesting to see if the Rockets end up buying him out.
The next step in the NBA season after the trade deadline is the period where teams buy veterans out, and if head coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy actually had his eyes on Thornton and he wasn’t just thrown in to make the numbers work for this trade, a cheap veteran signing may be in the future.
All in all, this isn’t a good thing for any party, but it’s much worse for the Rockets than it is for the Pistons. Not getting stuck with a player who might not play and a lost draft pick isn’t the worst thing that can happen to a team in the NBA.