By now you’ve heard that the Raptors have offered a four-year, $20 million offersheet to Linas Kleiza, who played in Greece last year. If signed, the Raptors would have used most of their MLE on the player. Here’s what’s worrying about Kleiza: In his last year with the Nuggets, 41% of this shots were threes and he made 32% of them. Not good.
Here’s what’s to like about Kleiza: he’s a gritty player who likes to play defense. However, is blowing the MLE on just that really a good move? The handing out of 4-5 year contracts to role players without securing the starting lineup is concerning. As of the now, the only people truly capable of starting on the Raptors are Hedo Turkoglu and Andrea Bargnani, the latter being debatable. Jack, Johnson, Belinelli, Weems, and DeRozan would be bench players on any half-contender in the league, and you could also throw Kleiza into the mix; he has started only 12% of the games he’s played.
He splits his time at the PF and SF, so his role is interchangeable. On the Raptors where we suddenly have a logjam at the PF, he’ll be asked to play the three behind Hedo, if he stays. If you read much into the PER, it’s been maxed out at 15 (average). It’s an underwhelming signing to say the least, because at this point the Raptors should be thinking about a rebuild plan and maybe even how they’re going to get their next franchise player. Amidst the Turkoglu saga, Bosh S&T, the flux around Calderon, this signing comes completely out of the blue.
There’s also some talk from Doug Smith about Colangelo offering Alabi a longer-term contract, which is perplexing because he hasn’t played a single NBA minute yet….confusing times.
The forum thread for this has some pretty good information and debate, so I’m going to cut and paste some of the discussion:
yertu damkule on first reaction
not sure what to think. i’m fighting the urge to say ‘typical BC signing’ (er, attempted signing), but that’s what it seems like…a guy he’s liked for a while – check; euro – check; minimum 4 yrs – check; at least $5M (avg) per year – check.
not sure if denver is going to match, though they don’t have much behind melo at the 3, even though they’re probably reluctant to add long-term contracts (given that they’ll be trying to re-sign melo), it wouldn’t surprise me if they did. could be a case of them relying on feedback from melo as to whether it’s worth it. of course, they may figure that they don’t need to commit that term & $$ to a backup who they didn’t like enough to keep from going to europe in the first place.
AJM on Denver matching
since Denver is in luxury tax, if they decide to match the offer it would cost 10mil/yr. So it is very possible they don’t match the offer. He played very well for Denver 2 years ago and IMO he worth the 5 mil/yr. – AJM
Buddahfan on Kleiza in Europe
Kleiza had a very nice year for Olympiakos – In Europe they play in the local league and in the Euro-league in the same year. Hence the breakdown.
He averaged 17.1 ppg against Euro-league competition in 29.9 mpg. That is very good by Euro-league standards
sunndogg on signing Euros.
He may have been born in Lithuania but he played his highschool basketball in Maryland and his college ball at Mizzou. So his formative basketball years were played in the US. Stop hating on Euros.
BC’s philsophy with Euros was two-fold IMO. First he felt that Euros were less likely to leave Toronto than American players who are closer to home south of the border. Secondly, the European style of spreading the floor is something that created mismatches in international play for the Americans and it allows for a faster paced more open style of basketball
Beyond that, Kleiza doesn’t fit the Euro-generalizations at all. He’s a strong player. He’s well built, he’s not afraid to take it to the rim if necessary and he has a solid jumper. He’s not a defensive stopper, but he can certainly guard his position and i’m sure practicing with Melo, definitely helped his defense.
At 4 mil/year, this is a steal for Colangelo. Beyond Childress I think Kleiza may have been the best available option at SF, better than Outlaw.
Great move by BC in the right direction. Kudos to him for addressing the depth of our weakest position, helping to strengthen the team defense and providing more depth off the bench all in one move.
Lark Benson on the price being too high for what Kleiza can do
Horrible signing for the price.
Looking at advanced (NBA) stats he shoots a poor percentage from 3 though he takes a very large percentage of his shots from beyond the arc, contributes nothing in terms of assists, steals or blocks, his PER has never cracked 15 (ie average), and his defensive metrics such as defensive win share and defensive rating are poor.
From what I remember of his time on the Nuggets he can’t keep quicker guys in front of him, he has questionable shot selection and complete tunnel vision when attacking the rim (though to his credit he does drive and finish well). Pairing him with DeRozan or Weems at the 2 will result in far too much redundancy and a stagnant offense, and we won’t have Bosh to bail out the offense any longer when the wings can’t create.
Frankly I’d like the signing at 3 mil a year or so, but I can’t understand why you’d shell out that kind of money right now for the guy. If they ever hope to contend in any way, going forward the Raps are going to HAVE to acquire a franchise player over the next few years in one of two ways: draft or trade (free agency is a bit of a long shot). Adding another burdensome long term contract for a guy who will sort of help you win now, but now much, and who really doesn’t have much trade value unless he fits another team’s need perfectly, helps in neither way.
To me, this is a perfect indication that BC’s focus is still stuck somewhere between rebuilding and trying to put a competitive product on the floor right away, and frankly it’s worrisome. Then again, if BC turns around and deals Hedo then I’d give it a thumbs up.
Frankthetank on Kleiza’s abilities
Good signing for reasonable amount. Kleiza is a winner, he helped denver almost make it to the finals and he went to the european championship finals and was the leading scorer on the team. Lina is a great baseline player, shoots corner 3’s really well and drives the baseline hard for dunks. If they could add childress, brewer or outlaw to Lina we would have had a great off season. Here’ to the hope
heinz57 being funny
everything i know about kleiza, i learned from video games, and video games has taught me that kleiza is not well known enough to get a picture taken for the games,
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