Today it was announced that Linas Kleiza would be subject to the amnesty clause. Reports indicated that the Toronto Raptors tried to deal Kleiza for an asset, but nobody was biting despite him possessing an expiring contract. Therefore, Masai Ujiri amnestied him, putting the Raptors below the luxury tax line.
I can tell you that fellow Lithuanian Jonas Valanciunas likely won’t be too happy about this considering they are close friends and played together on the national team. Kleiza will go back to playing in Europe after a hard-luck, injury riddled campaign with the Raptors. Everybody had extremely high expectations for him coming here after ripping it apart for the Lithuanian team and in Europe, and he failed to produce due to various factors. I still believe he is a solid role player, but evidently he wasn’t fitting with the roster and the cap hit wasn’t something the team wanted to deal with, and they now have space for another player (Chris Wright from the summer league maybe?).
Regardless, Kleiza is now gone, and like we did for Andrea Bargnani, we are going to take a look at the best (and worst) of Linas Kleiza’s tenure with the Raptors.
Kleiza (almost) fights Al Harrington
This was absolutely priceless. Unfortunately I can’t find the original, but skip to around the two-minute mark of this one and you will see part of the ‘scuffle’.
Linas Kleiza, the Jazz killer
Kleiza always, and I mean always seemed to absolutely destroy the Utah Jazz.
Kleiza dunks on Randy Foye
‘Air Gray’ to Kleiza… wow.
Kids, look away.
That’s really about it in terms of significant, memorable Kleiza moments. Unfortunately, Kleiza was really bothered by various injuries. He also apparently kept his neighbors up quite often because he always brought back women to his room on a nightly basis (they played checkers), however he’s now apparently engaged.
All and all, it’s fair to call Kleiza’s tenure with the Raptors disappointing, with an even more disappointing end to it. However, it’s the right move as it gives the team more flexibility moving forward, and I do wish Kleiza all the best back in Europe.