With Larry Nance Jr. out for the next few weeks potentially, the Los Angeles Lakers have decided to scour the free agent market for a possible replacement. Among what’s available, arguably the best option is former Houston Rockets power forward Donatas Motiejunas.
After a long standoff as a restricted free agent, the Rockets eventually released Motiejunas outright, making him free to sign with anyone, and the Lakers recently decided to work him out, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne:
In the wake of Larry Nance's injury, the Lakers brought in free agent F Donatas Motiejunas for an audition, but didn't immediately sign him
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) December 28, 2016
After the standoff between Motiejunas spilled into the regular season, the Lithuanian-born forward signed a four-year offer sheet with the Brooklyn Nets, which the Rockets eventually matched. Then, after Motiejunas skipped a physical, the Rockets renounced his rights.
For the Lakers, it makes sense to at least kick the tires on Motiejunas. The diagnosis for Nance’s bone bruise is four weeks and even though Nance believes he can come back sooner, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that he could be out even longer.
At only 26 years old, Motiejunas is an intriguing possibility for the Lakers. Listed at 7’0″ he can play both power forward and center, and he is a very crafty scorer around the basket. He also has the ability to stretch the floor out to the three-point line.
He has dealt with injuries recently which led to him playing only 37 games last year. When healthy the previous year, Motiejunas averaged 12 points and 5.9 rebounds while shooting over 50 percent from the field. Whether or not the Lakers ultimately sign him remains to be seen, but it is good that they are being proactive in the midst of this latest injury.