The New Orleans Pelicans are in the process of finalizing a contract with Donatas Motiejunas and hope to have a deal done with the free-agent big man by Monday or Tuesday, according to league sources.
Sources told ESPN that the Pelicans, who are restricted to offering a contract at the $1.1 million veterans minimum, intend to have Motiejunas signed to a one-year deal within the next 48 hours.
To create a roster spot, New Orleans waived veteran swingman Reggie Williams on Sunday.
The Pelicans are one of at least three teams to show interest in Motiejunas since the end of his long-running contract saga with the Houston Rockets. ESPN reported earlier this week that the Los Angeles Lakers had flown Motiejunas in for a recent audition in front of Los Angeles' front office and coaches, while sources said Sunday that the Minnesota Timberwolves had also expressed some interest.
Motiejunas, 26, became an unrestricted free agent Dec. 15 after a contract situation with the 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. After Houston matched the Nets' offer sheet, Motiejunas refused to report for his physical, which led to the sides reworking some of the contract terms in a new four-year deal.
The Rockets, though, ultimately decided to surrender their rights to Motiejunas and make him an unrestricted free agent after he finally took his physical, severing their ties to him after four seasons together following negotiations with his 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The Rockets traded Motiejunas to the Detroit Pistons as part of a three-way deal last February, but the Pistons rescinded the trade after a physical revealed concerns about Motiejunas' back. Motiejunas ended up rejoining the Rockets and playing the rest of the 2015-16 season, recording 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.
The Lithuanian then struggled this past summer in restricted free agency to attract much outside interest until after 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.