|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 NBA.com|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
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 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.
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 at the University of Missouri. 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.
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.
National team career
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 EuroBasket 2007 and the silver medal at the EuroBasket 2013. He also played with Lithuania at the 2008 Summer 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 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game. He was chosen for the All-Tournament Team. Because of his knee injury, he was not able to help Lithuania at EuroBasket 2011.
On July 13, 2017, it was announced that Kleiza received part of the BC Rytas shares from Antanas Guoga. He was also named vice president of the club and its sports director. On February 8, 2020, Kleiza announced his decision to leave BC Rytas due to disagreements with other executives of the team. In May 2020, it was announced that Kleiza gave up his shares in the team to other shareholders.
Awards and accomplishments
- FIBA Under-19 World Championship silver medal: 2003
- EuroBasket bronze medal: 2007
- Greek Cup winner: 2010
- Alphonso Ford EuroLeague Top Scorer Trophy: 2010
- All-EuroLeague First Team: 2010
- FIBA World Championship bronze medal: 2010
- FIBA World Championship All-Tournament Team: 2010
- EuroBasket silver medal: 2013
- EuroBasket All-Tournament Team: 2013
|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|
- "Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Awards Announced". big12sports.com. March 7, 2005. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
- "2005 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament All-Tournament Team". big12sports.com. March 14, 2005. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
- Sanzharov, Andrei (February 4, 2008). "NBA Trade Rumors: Ron Artest to the Nuggets for Kleiza and Najera?". Bleacher Report. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
- "Nuggets' Kleiza drops in 41 points in easy win over Jazz". ESPN.com. January 17, 2018. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
- "Karl enjoying Nuggets' time in sunshine". The Denver Post. May 16, 2009. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
- King, Jay (August 10, 2009). "Linas Kleiza Signs With Greece's Olympiakos". Bleacher Report. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
- "Kleiza signs deal with Olympiakos". ESPN.com. August 10, 2009. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
- "Raptors Sign Kleiza To Offer Sheet". NBA.com. July 8, 2010. Retrieved July 8, 2010.
- Helin, Kurt (July 8, 2010). "Toronto signs Linas Kleiza to an offer sheet". ProBasketballTalk. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
- "Raptors Exercise Amnesty Provision On Kleiza". NBA.com. July 16, 2013. Archived from the original on July 23, 2013. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
- "FENERBAHCE ULKER inks former Ford Trophy winner Kleiza". Euroleague.net. July 26, 2013. Archived from the original on July 30, 2013. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
- "Teşekkürlerimizle". fenerbahce.org (in Turkish). July 1, 2014. Archived from the original on March 5, 2020. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
- "Ricky Hickman Fenerbahçe'de". Al Jazeera Turk (in Turkish). July 1, 2014. Archived from the original on August 7, 2014. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
- "Linas Kleiza: The K Factor is in Milano". olimpiamilano.com. July 21, 2014. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
- "EA7 Emporio Armani Milan lands Kleiza for one season". Euroleague.net. July 21, 2014. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
- "El duro calvario de Linas Kleiza, que se resiste a retirarse". kiaenzona.com (in Spanish). September 15, 2016. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
- Rimkus, Kęstas (July 13, 2017). "Linas Kleiza - apie "Lietuvos ryto" komplektaciją, A.Guogą ir savo, kaip puolėjo, rolę klube". 24sek.lt (in Lithuanian). Retrieved July 13, 2017.
- "L.Kleiza tapo "Lietuvos ryto" dalininku ir viceprezidentu". Krepsinis.net (in Lithuanian). July 13, 2017. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
- Augustis, Mindaugas (July 13, 2017). "Atsakingas pareigas gavęs L. Kleiza savo karjeros klausimą palieka atvirą". Krepsinis.lt (in Lithuanian). Retrieved July 13, 2017.
- "Po nesutarimų Kleiza palieka Vilniaus "Rytą"". lrt.lt (in Lithuanian). February 8, 2020. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
- "Vilniaus "Ryto" dalininkus palieka L. Kleiza – į administraciją grįžta J. Sarapinas". rytasvilnius.lt (in Lithuanian). May 15, 2020. Retrieved May 15, 2020.
- "Slaptos Lino Kleizos ir Agnetos Karalevičiūtės vestuvės apsaugos apsupty: svečiai į Šešuolėlių dvarą atvyko ir "Maserati", ir sraigtasparniu". 15min.lt (in Lithuanian). June 28, 2014. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
- "Linas Kleiza tapo tėvu: krepšininko žmona Agneta susilaukė sūnaus". 15min.lt (in Lithuanian). June 29, 2015. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
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