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Report: Raptors to amnesty Linas Kleiza

Jul 16, 2013, 9:00 AM EDT

Raptors forward Linas Kleiza looses the ball in front of Magic forward Andrew Nicholson during their NBA basketball game in Toronto

Linas Kleiza has played just 20, 49 (of 66) and 39 games the last three seasons – including none in the 2013 calendar year – as he’s battled injury and below-average play. So, the Raptors forward made a sensible choice by opting into the final year of a contract that will pay him $4.6 million next season. Of course, by taking the guaranteed salary, Kleiza lost the opportunity to hunt for a more-desirable situation.

Now, Kleiza will have his freedom and his money.

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports:

The Toronto Raptors plan to amnesty forward Linas Kleiza on Tuesday, a league source told Yahoo! Sports.

Kleiza played for Olympiakos of the Greek League during the 2009-10 season, and a source said his preference is to return to play overseas again.

Perhaps, there will be a market for Kleiza among NBA teams, but I don’t see why. He has a reputation for being a good shooter, but his career 3-point percentage is just 33.5. Really, Kleiza is a mediocre-at-best player with no specialty. Good teams could probably use someone who fills a more specific role, and bad teams could probably use someone with more upside than the 28-year-old Kleiza.Kleiza was successful in Greece between his four years with the Nuggets and three years with the Raptors. If his preference is to play overseas next season, that might be for the best.

  1. money2long - Jul 16, 2013 at 9:26 AM

    i don’t understand amnestying a player in the final year of a contract. especially when it’s not that bloated. well, i understand it a little bit, but i would think saving the amnesty provision for a more dire contract with multiple bad yrs would be a better option.

    • sal11 - Jul 16, 2013 at 10:12 AM

      You can only use the amnesty clause on a player who signed a contract prior to the lockout, and then only if that player signed his contract with the team he’s currently on. Rudy Gay can’t be amnestied because the Raptors traded for him, no matter how many times Masai Ujiri keeps trying to press the “undo” button. Linas Kleiza and Amir Johnson were the only players on Toronto eligible for the amnesty clause. Johnson has one year remaining on his deal at $6.5 million and a team option for next season. He has plenty more value than Kleiza does. Using the amnesty on Kleiza might give Toronto a little more flexibility to make an in-season trade.

    • louderthanwords1 - Jul 16, 2013 at 11:26 AM

      The only other Raptor eligible to be amnestied was Amir Johnson and your not going to amnesty a guy who averaged 10 and 7.5 last season. So it was Kleiza or no one.

      • money2long - Jul 16, 2013 at 12:12 PM

        or someone they sign later down the road ?

      • louderthanwords1 - Jul 16, 2013 at 12:24 PM

        Only players signed prior to 2011-2012 can be amenstied.

      • 00maltliquor - Jul 16, 2013 at 12:35 PM

        @ money

        You can’t do that, it would have to be a player that was on the team when the new CBA was put into action. It’s only good for Kleiza, Amir Johnson and DeMar DeRozan.

        Might as well use that get out of jail free card since they would be dumb to amnesty the other two guys. They are mad crowded on the wing position.

      • louderthanwords1 - Jul 16, 2013 at 12:45 PM

        Derozan wasn’t eligible to be amnestied because he signed an extension back in October.

      • money2long - Jul 16, 2013 at 2:48 PM

        ah okay i see. then i get it. that masai ujiri fellow is sharp anyway. who am i to question.

  2. jcmeyer10 - Jul 16, 2013 at 9:29 AM

    After watching him play in Denver, I thought he was done then. Surprised every year he was still around but it makes more sense the Raptors held on to him and not some competent team.

  3. dezglobal - Jul 16, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    Cash is King. Gotta cut the fat

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