On his twitter, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports has reported that former Denver Nugget Linas Kleiza has signed with the Greek team Olympiakos. Here was his exact tweet:
“Den FA forward Linas Kleiza has agreed to a 2-year, $12.2 million with an opt-out next year with Greece Olympiakos, a source told Y! Sports.”
Obviously, unlike when Josh Childress bolted last season this is not earth-shattering news. This season has made it much more obvious than last’s that being a restricted free agent in this kind of economy is practically like being held hostage. A guy like Kleiza has a home in the NBA, but not for anything but a low price. And with the kind of offers I’m thinking he was getting, he had no choice but to take this one. Spears reported that the deal has an opt-out next year so he can attempt to come back. How does this affect Denver? For one they lose a guy who has played 79+ games for them the past three years. They lose some depth as Kleiza was a guy who could step in and play power or small forward depending on the matchups. That whole ‘stepping in’ is also important considering how injury-prone both Kenyon Martin and Nene tend to be. And they lose one of their better perimeter shooters. He only shot 32.6% from the three-point line last season but in the playoffs he shot 42.5% and was a key reason the Nuggets advanced so far.
Talk about your odd teammates? Can you imagine Kleiza with Von Wafer’s super-swag and Childress’ dorkiness playing together? I can and it’s awesome.