There's a new Raptor in town
As we mentioned here the other day, the chance to get Linas Kleiza in the fold a year after an earlier dalliance was too much to resist and the Raptors have signed the restricted free agent to an offer sheet.
Seeing how my very good spies tell me Kleiza was actually spotted in Toronto last night, I’m sure he’ll stop by the Raptors office and sign the offer sheet today.
And since someone mentioned Kleiza’s name to me the other day around the Air Canada Centre (after I’d left him off an earlier list of possibilities) this makes entire sense.
The Denver Nuggets have seven days to match the contract – which is four years and $20 million. No indication what they might do but they’re fighting tax issues, let him go once and it would be no surprise if they didn’t let him walk.
Who is he? A 6-8 small forward who played for Olympiakos in Greece last year after averaging 9.9 points a game with the Nuggets in 2008-09.
He’s a role player, does nothing spectacularly well but does add some depth to a spot where the Raptors need it.
The money seems about right, it takes almost all of Toronto’s mid-level exception out of play. The rest of the mid-level exception will go to Solomon Alabi, the second-round draft pick who’s going to get a bump from the minimum salary and a deal that’s multi-year but not fully guaranteed, I’m hearing.
The Raptors kicked the tires on Kleiza at this time last year but had so much other stuff going on, they let the interest wane.