According to ESPN.com and Eurohoops.net, forward/center Donatas Motiejunas has finished playing with his professional team in China and he’ll be joining the San Antonio Spurs for the remainder of the season.
The 7’0″ Lithuanian big was drafted back in 2011 by the Minnesota Timberwolves, and he’s spent time with the Houston Rockets and New Orleans Pelicans during his time in the NBA. His most recent time in the NBA was the 2016-17 season with the Pelicans.
Since then, he’s been playing overseas in China. This season with the Shandong Golden Stars, Motiejunas played and started in 37 games, where he averaged 27.3 points, 14 rebounds, and 4.2 assists. He’s known as being a stretch big and he did just that in China. This season he launched 3.4 threes per game while shooting 32.3% from the outside.
What will his role be on the Spurs?
Don’t expect Motiejunas to crack Head Coach Gregg Popovich’s nine-man rotation with just nine games left in the regular season. With Pau Gasol being bought-out last month, the Spurs had an extra roster spot they could fill before the playoffs.
Motiejunas will be more-so a backup big in the event LaMarcus Aldridge or Jakob Poeltl get hurt, or in foul trouble during a game. Drew Eubanks has played well as the third center off the bench for the Spurs this season, but, since he’s on a two-way contract, he wouldn’t be eligible to participate in the playoffs with the Spurs.
Because of his outside shooting ability, Popovich might also use Motiejunas in the event he wants to throw a lineup out on the floor with more spacing in minutes of certain games.
After this season
Financially, Motiejunas will make the remaining amount of the veteran minimum for this season and then he will have a $1.6 million cap hold this summer on the Spurs’ books, in the event he and the Spurs were to want to work on a contract for next season.
According to the Eurohoops report, Motiejunas already has a dealed lined up to return playing overseas next season.