|No. 11 – Fenerbahçe Ülker Istanbul|
|Position||Small forward / Power forward|
|League||Turkish Basketball League
January 3, 1985 |
|Listed height||6 ft 8 in (203 cm)|
|Listed weight||234 lb (106 kg)|
|High school||Montrose Christian School
|NBA draft||2005 / Round: 1 / Pick: 27th overall|
|Selected by the Portland Trail Blazers|
|Pro playing career||2005–present|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Stats at NBA.com|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Linas Kleiza (IPA: [ˈlʲɪn̪ɐs̪ kʲlʲɛɪ̯ˈz̪ɐ]; born January 3, 1985) is a Lithuanian professional basketball player who plays for Fenerbahçe Ülker of the Turkish Basketball League. He is also a member of the Lithuanian national team. Kleiza can play either forward position.
Kleiza was born in Kaunas, Lithuania (Europe). At 16 years old he moved to U.S.A. where he attended the 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 Championship. He led the tournament in scoring, averaging 29.1 points per game on 58 percent shooting.
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 final with the Reds. Kleiza led the league in scoring, thus winning the Alphonso Ford 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.
On July 26, 2013, Kleiza signed with Fenerbahçe Ülker. According to various sources Kleiza's contract salary is 3.3 million Euro (275 thousands Euros per month). He is the most expensive player in Turkish Basketball League history.
Lithuanian national team
Kleiza has also played with the senior Lithuanian national basketball team. He played at the 2006 FIBA World Championship and he won the bronze medal at the 2007 FIBA European Championship and the silver medal at the 2013 FIBA European Championship. He also played with Lithuania at the 2008 Olympics. After a poor performance in Eurobasket 2009, Kleiza led his team to a bronze medal in the 2010 FIBA World Championship, averaging 19.0 ppg, 7.1 rpg and 1.4 apg. He was chosen in the All-Tournament team. Because of his knee injury he wasn't able to help Lithuania in EuroBasket 2011.
Awards and accomplishments
- Gatorade High School Player of the Year: 2003
- 2003 FIBA Under-19 World Championship: Silver Medal
- EuroBasket 2007: Bronze Medal
- Greek Cup: 2010
- Alphonso Ford Trophy: 2010
- All-Euroleague First Team: 2010
- 2010 FIBA World Championship, Turkey – Bronze medalist and All-Tournament Team
- EuroBasket 2013: Silver Medal and All-Tournament Team
|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|
|Led the league|
NBA regular season
- "Linas Kleiza Career Highlights". Kleiza.com.
- "NBA Trade Rumors: Ron Artest to the Nuggets for Kleiza and Najera?". Bleacherreport.com. February 4, 2008.
- 7:00 PM ET, January 17, 2008Pepsi Center, Denver, CO (January 17, 2008). "Nuggets' Kleiza drops in 41 points in easy win over Jazz". Scores.espn.go.com.
- 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 2010-07-08.
- "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
- Kleiza – brangiausias istorijoje Turkijos krepšininkas (Lithuanian)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Linas Kleiza.|
- Career statistics and player information from NBA.com
- Linas Kleiza at Basketball-Reference.com
- Euroleague.net Profile
- EuroBasket Profile
- Greek League Profile (Greek)
- Basketpedya.com Profile
- Linas Kleiza on Myspace