The New Orleans Pelicans announced they have signed free agent Donatas Motiejunas. Shams Charania of The Vertical has reported the contract is for one year.
Motiejunas, 26, was drafted with the 20th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. He debuted in the 2012-13 season and played 214 games over four seasons with the Houston Rockets. His best season was the 2014-15 campaign when he averaged 12.0 points and 5.9 rebounds in 71 games (that included 62 starts).
A stretch four (or five) who doesn't actually hit 3-pointers (30.8% on his career), Motiejunas is an interesting fit on the Pelicans. He may slide in front of Omer Asik and Alexis Ajinca in the pecking order, but neither of those big men have logged many minutes in the past week or so. If he's healthy (lingering concerns about his back nixed a trade to the Detroit Pistons last February), Motiejunas will exceed the expected value of a minimum contract, if he can remain on the court regularly.
Motiejunas is the 15th player under contract. In order for the Pelicans to participate in the always fun 10-day contract derby, they would need to create another roster spot by waiving someone (Motiejunas would be the leading candidate) or executing a trade where they receive fewer players than they send out.
Cheick Diallo's path to minutes just got harder, and that's a disappointing development considering his relative success. A trip back to the Austin Spurs may be likely in the coming days for the rookie.