After Donatas Motiejunas sounded off against the Pistons for rescinding the three-team trade that would have brought him to Detroit, Stan Van Gundy spoke to the assembled media, including MLive's Brendan Savage, to refute the Lithuanian big man's claims. The Rockets forward went as far as accusing Motown's front office of lying about his medical results, and made it clear he would seek advice from his agent and lawyers in an effort to out the Pistons, whom he believes nixed the trade as a result of a change of heart, and not his 'joke' of a failed physical.
However, the Motor City's coach had a different version of events, maintaining that Detroit had done its best to evaluate Motiejunas' back injury and simply weren't satisfied with the results:
"No," Van Gundy said Tuesday. "We went through a very thorough process and we made the decision we made for the reasons that we thought it was too much risk.
"Look, I feel bad for him, too, because I understand his points in terms of his value and everything else. But we felt we had to make the decision we made."
Donatas, who will be a free agent this summer, could see his stock plummet as a result of the failed physical, which could affect him negatively when negotiating potential contracts. When you consider that Ryan Anderson, a player with a similar skillset is expected to garner a max contract worth approximately $25 million per year, it is understandable that Motiejunas would be upset over a red flag being raised about his health.
If the Lithuanian big man believes that he has enough evidence to prove the Pistons rescinded the trade due to reasons other than those cited, he could file a grievance with the NBA Player's Association. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute did exactly that after taking exception to his new contract being voided by the Sacramento Kings due to what they described as a failed physical. For what its worth, arbitration on the case began in September but there was no public statement made on whether both sides reached a settlement. Mbah a Moute went on to pass the Clippers' physical and is still on their roster.
Despite some potentially serious ramifications, Van Gundy dismissed Donatas' claims as that of a spurned player looking to save some of the value he believes he lost during the incident, stating that he understands the 25-year-old big man's anger at seeing the trade canceled, but that there is no weight behind his accusations:
"It's a really tough profession for players," Van Gundy said. "People, I think, focus on the money they make and obviously that's great but how many of us have jobs that, on 48 hours notice, you've got to move your family anywhere they tell you to go and you've got absolutely no say in it?
"And then in our case we rescinded and you go back. Guys are going to have negative reactions to things like that and I think you have to give them the room to have that. He's got the right to have whatever reaction he wants to have. I'm not resentful of that at all. I don't take that personally at all.
"He was in a tough situation."
Since his initial outburst to Lithuanian media yesterday, Motiejunas has been quiet, and neither the League nor the NBA Player's Association have weighed in on the current situation, so it is entirely possible that this is as far as this incident goes.
We will keep you updated if any new information comes to light.