Linas Kleiza (Lithuanian pronunciation: [ˈlʲɪnɐs kʲlʲɛɪ̯ˈzɐ]; born January 3, 1985) is a Lithuanian professional basketball executive and former player. Standing at 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m), he played at the small forward and power forward positions. In 2010, he was the Alphonso Ford EuroLeague Top Scorer Trophy winner and a member of the All-EuroLeague First Team.
Kleiza with Fenerbahçe Ülker in 2013.
|Position||Vice president / Sports director|
|League||Lithuanian Basketball League|
|Born||January 3, 1985|
Kaunas, Lithuanian SSR, Soviet Union
|Listed height||6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)|
|Listed weight||236 lb (107 kg)|
|High school||Montrose Christian School|
|NBA draft||2005 / Round: 1 / Pick: 27th overall|
|Selected by the Portland Trail Blazers|
|Position||Power forward / Small forward|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Points||3,561 (8.7 ppg)|
|Rebounds||1,470 (3.6 rpg)|
|Assists||321 (0.8 apg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Kleiza represented the senior Lithuanian national basketball team in international competitions. He led them to a bronze medal in the 2010 FIBA World Championship, and was chosen to the All-Tournament Team. He also won a silver medal in the EuroBasket 2013, earning an All-EuroBasket Team selection, and a bronze medal in the EuroBasket 2007.
- 1 Early years
- 2 College career
- 3 Professional career
- 4 Lithuanian national team
- 5 Ownership of BC Rytas
- 6 Awards and accomplishments
- 7 Career statistics
- 8 Personal life
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Kleiza was born in Kaunas, Lithuania. At 16 years old he moved to the United States where he attended Montrose Christian School and graduated in 2003. He played on the Lithuanian Junior National Team that won the silver medal at the 2003 FIBA Under-19 World Cup. He led the tournament in scoring, averaging 29.1 points per game on 58 percent shooting. As a senior, he was named a third-team Parade All-American.
Kleiza played college basketball with the University of Missouri Tigers. He was named Honorable Mention All-Big 12 by the league coaches as a sophomore. He also earned All-Tournament honors at the 2005 Big 12 Tournament after averaging 29.5 points and 9 rebounds per game.
Kleiza was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers with the 27th pick of the 2005 NBA Draft. The Trail Blazers then dealt his draft rights, along with Ricky Sanchez to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for Jarrett Jack. Kleiza was seldom-used in his rookie season. He averaged 3.5 points and 8.5 minutes per game.
He improved on his three-point shooting in his sophomore year, making 83–221, after only making two three-pointers in his rookie year. He also saw some more time on the court and averaged 7.6 points on 42 percent shooting in 18.8 minutes per game. After the season, Denver picked up their team option on his contract for another season.
Kleiza became a big part of Denver's rotation in the 2007–08 season, mostly backing up Denver's starting small forward Carmelo Anthony. However, he was involved in a lot of trade talks, most notably a trade involving Ron Artest of the Sacramento Kings. On January 17, 2008, Kleiza scored a career high 41 points against the Utah Jazz. His scoring average was up to 11.1 points per game and his shooting percentage was up to 47 percent.
Many expected Kleiza to make a similar leap in production in his fourth year in the league. However, most of his season averages were slightly off from the 2007–08 season. He averaged 9.9 points on 45 percent shooting. His minutes dwindled down in the playoffs. The Nuggets' head coach George Karl, said Kleiza played fewer minutes because he is not a playmaker.
On August 10, 2009, Kleiza agreed to a two-year, $12.2 million (€8.6 million euros) gross income contract with the Greek League team Olympiacos. He averaged 17.2 points per game and grabbed 6.4 rebounds per game in the EuroLeague, reaching the EuroLeague Finals with the Reds. Kleiza led the league in scoring, thus winning the Alphonso Ford EuroLeague Top Scorer Trophy, becoming the first Lithuanian to do so.
On July 7, 2010, Kleiza terminated his contract with Olympiacos. He was signed by the Toronto Raptors to a four-year, $20 million gross income offer sheet. In January 2011, he suffered a serious meniscal tear in his right knee and was out for the remainder of the 2010–11 season. On February 1, 2011, Kleiza underwent arthroscopic surgery. He returned to court on January 11, 2012 in a game against the Sacramento Kings. In 14 minutes of game action, he scored 10 points, grabbed 3 rebounds and dished out an assist. On July 16, 2013, the Raptors used the amnesty clause to waive Kleiza.
Emporio Armani MilanoEdit
On July 21, 2014, Kleiza signed a one-year deal with the Italian team Olimpia Milano. After the season he withdrew from professionally playing basketball for unlimited period of time due to knee problems, but did not announce his retirement from the sport.
Lithuanian national teamEdit
Kleiza has also played with the senior men's Lithuanian national basketball team. He played at the 2006 FIBA World Championship and he won the bronze medal at the FIBA EuroBasket 2007 and the silver medal at the FIBA EuroBasket 2013. He also played with Lithuania at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. After a poor performance in FIBA EuroBasket 2009, Kleiza led his team to a bronze medal in the 2010 FIBA World Championship, averaging 19.0 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game. He was chosen for the All-Tournament Team. Because of his knee injury, he wasn't able to help Lithuania at FIBA EuroBasket 2011.
Ownership of BC RytasEdit
On July 13, 2017, it was announced that Kleiza received part of the BC Rytas shares from Antanas Guoga. Furthermore, he was named vice president of the club and will also act as sports director.
Awards and accomplishmentsEdit
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field-goal percentage||3P%||3-point field-goal percentage||FT%||Free-throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||PIR||Performance Index Rating|
Note: The EuroLeague is not the only competition in which the player participated for the team during the season. He also played in domestic competition, and regional competition if applicable.
|Led the league|
- "Linas Kleiza Career Highlights". Kleiza.com.
- "NBA Trade Rumors: Ron Artest to the Nuggets for Kleiza and Najera?". Bleacherreport.com. February 4, 2008.
- Pepsi Center, Denver, CO (January 17, 2008). "Nuggets' Kleiza drops in 41 points in easy win over Jazz". Scores.espn.go.com.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- The Denver Postdenverpost.com. "Karl enjoying Nuggets' time in sunshine". Denverpost.com.
- "Kleiza leaving Nuggets for Greece". Sports.yahoo.com. August 10, 2009.
- "ESPN.com Kleiza signs deal with Olympiakos". Sports.espn.go.com. August 11, 2009.
- "Raptors Sign Kleiza To Offer Sheet". NBA.com. July 8, 2010. Retrieved July 8, 2010.
- "Toronto signs Linas Kleiza to an offer sheet". Probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com.
- "Raptors Pursue Linas Kleiza". Hoopsworld.com.
- Raptors Exercise Amnesty Provision On Kleiza
- FENERBAHCE ULKER inks former Ford Trophy winner Kleiza
- Fenerbahce officially part ways with Kleiza, Karaman, McCalebb, Ermis
- "EA7 Emporio Armani Milan lands Kleiza for one season". Euroleague.net. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
- Rimkus, Kęstas. "Linas Kleiza - apie „Lietuvos ryto" komplektaciją, A.Guogą ir savo, kaip puolėjo, rolę klube". 24sek.lt. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
- "L.Kleiza tapo „Lietuvos ryto" dalininku ir viceprezidentu". Krepsinis.net (in Lithuanian). Retrieved July 13, 2017.
- Augustis, Mindaugas. "Atsakingas pareigas gavęs L. Kleiza savo karjeros klausimą palieka atvirą". Krepsinis.lt. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
- "Slaptos Lino Kleizos ir Agnetos Karalevičiūtės vestuvės apsaugos apsupty: svečiai į Šešuolėlių dvarą atvyko ir "Maserati", ir sraigtasparniu". Žmonės.lt. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
- "Linas Kleiza tapo tėvu: krepšininko žmona Agneta susilaukė sūnaus". Žmonės.lt. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
- "L. Kleiza su žmona savo pirmagimiui išrinko hebrajišką vardą". Delfi.lt. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
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