Rockets trade Donatas Motiejunas, Marcus Thornton to Pistons

Rockets get coveted first round pick for two players (0:42)

Calvin Watkins breaks down the trade between the Rockets and the Pistons that sends Donatas Motiejunas and Marcus Thornton to Detroit for Joel Anthony and a protected 2016 first-round pick. (0:42)

PHOENIX -- The Houston Rockets traded power forward Donatas Motiejunas and small forward Marcus Thornton to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for a protected 2016 first-round pick and Joel Anthony on Thursday.

The pick is top-eight protected in 2016 and top-10 protected in 2017 and 2018, according to ESPN's Tom Haberstroh.

Houston later turned around and sent Anthony and a future second-round pick (via the Nuggets) to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for the rights to Nigerian forward Chukwudiebere Maduabum.

The Rockets were willing to let Motiejunas go despite being high on his ability to pass well and hit midrange jumpers.

He averaged a career-high 12.0 points last season, but suffered a back injury late in the season. Motiejunas encountered numerous setbacks during his recovery from back surgery and has been limited to 14 games this season, averaging 5.6 points.

"A little surprised," Motiejunas told ESPN after the trade. "But it's part of the business. So when the deadline comes, you're kind of afraid of that. It's just natural feelings."

Thornton, 28, was acquired in the offseason as jump shooter who provides instant offense. After not playing in first two games of the season, Thornton was inserted and helped the Rockets on the offensive end, averaging 10.0 points. However, his minutes fluctuated when the Rockets wanted more defensive players on the floor.

Anthony, a 33-year-old backup center, has seen limited action for the Pistons, averaging 1.2 rebounds and 0.7 points per game this season.