The Los Angeles Lakers have auditioned free-agent big man Donatas Motiejunas within the past week, according to league sources.
Sources told ESPN that the Lakers brought Motiejunas in before Christmas to work out in front of the front office and coaching staff, but it remains unclear whether they'll go ahead with signing the former first-round pick.
The Lakers' frontcourt is a little thin after key reserve Larry Nance Jr. suffered a bone bruise in his left knee that's expected to sideline him for at least four weeks.
But sources said the Lakers are weighing whether there are enough minutes to go around, with the blossoming Julius Randle and Tarik Black playing the bulk of the frontcourt minutes while Nance is out.
Motiejunas became an unrestricted free agent after a protracted contract saga with the Houston Rockets that spanned more than five months. The 7-footer, while still a restricted free agent, signed a four-year offer sheet with the Brooklyn Nets in late November that was potentially worth up to $35 million. Houston matched the Nets' offer sheet but ripped up that deal; they then reworked some of the contract terms in a new four-year deal after Motiejunas refused to report for his physical.
The Rockets ultimately decided to surrender their rights to Motiejunas and make him an unrestricted free agent after the 26-year-old finally took his physical. The Rockets decided to sever their ties to Motiejunas after four seasons together following negotiations with the player's agent, B.J. Armstrong, and league officials.
The Rockets traded Motiejunas to the Detroit Pistons as part of a three-way deal last February, but the Pistons rescinded the trade after a physical revealed concerns about Motiejunas' back. The Lithuanian struggled in restricted free agency to attract much outside interest until the Rockets pulled their two-year offer starting in the $7 million to $8 million range on Nov. 22. Houston was only willing to guarantee the first season of its original two-year offer in a nod to Motiejunas' injury history.
Motiejunas ended up rejoining the Rockets and playing the rest of the season. He recorded a double-double (14 points and 13 rebounds) in Houston's only win over Golden State in the teams' first-round series in the spring.