The Detroit Pistons and Houston Rockets have agreed to a deal just hours before today’s NBA Trade Deadline.
As first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, the Detroit Pistons have acquired power forward Donatas Motiejunas and small forward/shooting guard Marcus Thornton from the Houston Rockets in exchange for Joel Anthony and a first round draft pick.
1st Rd Pick
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst adds details to the conditions attached to the first round pick headed to Houston, noting that it is top-eight protected for the 2016 NBA Draft and top-ten protected for the two years after that. With the Pistons pushing for a playoff position, the expectation would be they would avoid the top eight of draft, sending the pick to Houston this year.
Back issues have limited Motiejunas to just 14 games played so far this season and he has not played a game yet since the calendar turned to 2016. That makes him a wild card for the rest of the season but could prove to be a valuable big off the bench if he can get healthy. Motiejunas shot a career-best 36.8% on three-point attempts last season, potentially adding another stretch-four Stan Van Gundy can turn to off the bench.
The addition of Thornton is a much-needed boost for the Pistons bench after trading Brandon Jennings to the Orlando Magic in the deal that brought Tobias Harris. Thornton averaged ten points this season for the Rockets coming off the bench in 41 of 47 games played.
Both players are in the last year of their contracts. Marcus Thornton will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason while Donatas Motiejunas will be a restricted free agent.
The Pistons have been cautious not to give up any long-term vision for short-term fixes. They give up a first round draft choice in the deal but otherwise swap an expiring contract of a non-contributor for two expiring contracts for players who can contribute. The more Thornton and Motiejunas contribute, the lower the draft pick the Pistons end up sending to the Rockets.