Two trade deadline deals appear to be void, as Donatas Motiejunas failed to be cleared by Detroit Pistons medical staff due to a lingering back problem.
The Detroit Pistons initially came out as the big winners of the relatively quiet 2016 NBA trade deadline after scoring major pieces to complement their talented roster. Among those picked up in the deals were Houston Rockets center Donatas Motiejunas, which is a solid addition to their frontcourt.
However, recent reports from multiple sources – including ESPN and Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports’ The Vertical – have painted a bleak picture of what could have been a win-win deal for both squads.
Motiejunas, 25, has not played an NBA game since December 31 due to a lingering back problem stemming from back surgery late last season. He has played NBA D-League games for affiliate Rio Grande Valley Vipers to recuperate and acclimatize his body after recovering from his injuries.
Detroit Pistons team doctors continuously checked on Motiejunas after the team was given by the NBA another 24 hours past the 72-hour trade window in order to weigh its options on the Lithuanian big man.
Despite the additional test, the Pistons failed to clear Motiejunas of his injury, creating a ripple effect that affected two separate trades.
Thus, Motiejunas and Marcus Thornton get sent back to Houston as a result of the trade being void. Joel Anthony, who wound up with the Philadelphia 76ers, will go back to Detroit.
The fallout also leaves Detroit scouring for options on improving their frontline, as Joel Anthony has proven ineffective in relief to Andre Drummond.