The Kaunas resident, who recently celebrated his 31st birthday, will wear the AS Monaco T-shirt in the Euroleague and will play in France for the first time. The former Žalgiris resident talked about new career challenges, jobs in the summer and other things together with Rytis Kazlauskas, the host of Žalgiris Insider.
“The interest from NBA clubs in the summer was, but it was the weakest compared to what it was before. In the past, three or four teams called and placed contracts on the table saying, “if you can, be good just come.”
The situation has, of course, changed with COVID-19. In order to come to America after the Chinese Championship, you have to quarantine, the visa process is a long process and it becomes practically impossible to join the NBA club in China after the season, “explained D. Motiejūnas, who has competed in China for the last four years.
The last time D. Motiejūnas played in the Euroleague was in 2011–2012. season when represented Gdynia Asseco Prokom team. This time the former Žalgiris player collected 12.5 points in 10 matches and rebounded 7.9 balls in 10 matches.
The return to the Euroleague ten years later could not have happened if D. Motiejūnas had not decided to stop waiting for offers from China and stay in the AS Monaco club, with which he had already started preparations in 2021–2022. season.
The call from AS Monaco was perhaps unexpected, we were still waiting for the situation in China to be resolved, we were waiting for the league to be announced. We have not received the information as far as I know, and not all the information has been published yet. It was such a time. The coach of AS Monaco was very interested in me and the club itself. “They made an offer on the condition that I could go to China by a certain date, but when I started training with the team, the idea of going somewhere disappeared and I didn’t want to look inconsistent and damage my name after leaving in the middle of the preparation season,” he said.
In Monaco, D. Motiejūnas will join forces with Mike James, who recently shook the European basketball market by deciding to choose the offer of the Euroleague debutants and become the most expensive basketball player of the French basketball league of all time.
“For many, this message was a thunderstorm from the clear sky, but I had already heard talk of his possible arrival. I also knew before the news was published that he had agreed to the club’s offer. Joining a player at this level should have surprised more than one or two people. It will be a great boost for us, it is a phenomenal attacking player who can “explode” at any moment and earn points from any situation, “D. Motiejūnas shared his thoughts.
In the new team, D. Motiejūnas will not be the only basketball player who has played in “Žalgiris” in the past. There are two more such players in the ranks of AS Monaco – Australia Brockas Motumas and Leo Westermannas. According to D. Motiejūnas, he immediately discovered a connection with these guys and has a lot of common topics.
“It simply came to our notice then. We really talk and discuss a lot about Kaunas, “Žalgiris”, people – various things. Leo is still following the progress of “Žalgiris”, for my part it is fun to meet such people who have played in “Žalgiris” for several years and feel the love for the club. It is good that “Žalgiris” leaves such a strong seal not only for me as a Lithuanian, but also for foreigners, “said the interlocutor.
In the entire conversation for the subscribers of the Žalgiris Insider MVP plan, D. Motiejūnas told about the head coach of the AS Monaco club Zvezdanas Mitrovičius, the match and answered the questions of the subscribers.
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