The Houston Rockets have been seeking ways to increase their cap space in an effort to not cross the luxury tax limit. However, the NBA team has not been successful in their search for cheaper stars and attempts to trade off players with massive contracts. For instance, NBA trade rumors have been surrounding Dwight Howard and Ty Lawson all season. While the Houston Rockets remain mum on this issue, a number of league sources revealed that the James Harden team have been looking for trade partners to get rid of the former Los Angeles Lakers star and the ex Denver Nuggets player.
With both Lawson and Howard still with the team, it looks like the Houston Rockets failed to find willing partners. However, the recently concluded NBA trade deadline saw the Houston Rockets inch closer to their goal of eliminating unwanted players to free up their cap space.
In a monstrous deal with the Detroit Pistons and the Philadelphia 76ers, the Jason Terry squad saw the departure of Donatas Motiejunas and Marcus Thornton. In exchange, the Reggie Jackson squad sent center Joel Anthony to the Jahlil Okafor team plus a protected first-round 2016 NBA draft pick to the Houston Rockets. Sources close to the Detroit Pistons shared that Motiejunas is eyed as a potential asset in the frontcourt.
However, the celebration of a roomier cap space for the James Harden did not last long.
Motiejunas, who has been known to suffer back injuries, failed to pass the physical conducted by the Detroit Pistons. Given that the terms of his NBA trade is tied with Thornton, both stars are sent back to the Houston Rockets. The Philadelphia 76ers also had to release Anthony, with the Detroit Pistons rescinding their NBA draft pick clause from the Dwight Howard team.
"After forward Donatas Motiejunas was unable to get physicians' clearance for his troublesome back, the Detroit Pistons rescinded their three-team trade with Houston and Philadelphia," revealed Shams Charania of The Vertical. He added, "The physicians and specialists examining Montiejunas' back refused to clear him, pushing Pistons executives to kill the deal agreed upon at Thursday's trade deadline."
For their part, the Detroit Pistons found the failure to officially take in Motiejunas "disappointing."
"It's disappointing because we saw the possibilities," said Van Gundy of the failed transaction, according to Detroit Free Press. He added, "But yeah, I would do it over again if it were out there. We did our due diligence. Just thought there was too much risk."
Gundy also described the situation as "awkward" since Anthony will be returning to the Detroit Pistons after getting traded. He shared, "I've never been through this situation. [It's a] little bit awkward. I'm just glad we are doing it with a guy who is as great a professional as Joel is."