Linas Kleiza has played just 20, 49 (of 66) and 39 games the last three seasons – including none in the 2013 calendar year – as he’s battled injury and below-average play. So, the Raptors forward made a sensible choice by opting into the final year of a contract that will pay him $4.6 million next season. Of course, by taking the guaranteed salary, Kleiza lost the opportunity to hunt for a more-desirable situation.
Now, Kleiza will have his freedom and his money.
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports:
The Toronto Raptors plan to amnesty forward Linas Kleiza on Tuesday, a league source told Yahoo! Sports.
Kleiza played for Olympiakos of the Greek League during the 2009-10 season, and a source said his preference is to return to play overseas again.
Perhaps, there will be a market for Kleiza among NBA teams, but I don’t see why. He has a reputation for being a good shooter, but his career 3-point percentage is just 33.5. Really, Kleiza is a mediocre-at-best player with no specialty. Good teams could probably use someone who fills a more specific role, and bad teams could probably use someone with more upside than the 28-year-old Kleiza.Kleiza was successful in Greece between his four years with the Nuggets and three years with the Raptors. If his preference is to play overseas next season, that might be for the best.
The New York Knicks couldn’t get out of their own way on Thursday night, even with a historic performance from Carmelo Anthony. With the Washington Wizards in town, it was John Wall‘s finishing ability that pushed the Wiz over New York, 113-110.
The final 45 seconds were hectic, as Wall took the lead for Washington with just 32 seconds left after drawing a foul on Carmelo.
Down by 1, Anthony then missed a jumper with 18 seconds left and the Knicks allowed Wall to do this:
Wall would go on to steal the final possession from the Knicks, and the Wizards left MSG with a win.
Gregg Popovich can be a fiesty dude, and sometimes he just wants to get his team pumped up. After news that Pau Gasol was going to be absent from the San Antonio Spurs’ lineup against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday, perhaps this was his way of doing that?
Late in the second quarter in Denver, Popovich was seen arguing with a baseline official as play continued on. Pop was hit with an initial tech, and as the officiating crew walked away he blasted ’em with the best dad insult I’ve heard in a long time.
“You’re a terrible referee!”
Meanwhile, Emmanuel Mudiay was more than happy to assist with the second technical and ejection portion of Popovich’s tirade.
Long Live Pop.
Kristaps Porzingis is “The Unicorn” perhaps in part because of his high basketball awareness on the offensive end of the floor. On Thursday night against the Washington Wizards, the New York Knicks big man had an incredible putback dunk that surprised even his teammates.
Thanks to a missed Courtney Lee 3-pointer, Porzingis was able to fly in from beyond the arc to slam home two points.
Yeah, that’s crazy.
There’s putback dunks and then there’s flying in from beyond the 3-point line like this one. Wild.
The San Antonio Spurs will have to make do without PF/C for a while Pau Gasol thanks to a recent fracture in his left ring finger.
That’s according to a press release from the team, who said Gasol fractured his fourth metacarpal — the bone that connects the ring finger down to the carpal bones in the wrist area — during warmups before a game against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night.
No word yet from the team on recovery time, but estimates given similar recent NBA player injuries suggest anywhere from 4-8 weeks.
Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward missed the first month of the season after fracturing his finger in early October. Cleveland Cavaliers PG Kyrie Irving missed around a month in 2012 with a similar injury.
Here’s hoping Gasol can make it back to the court quickly for the Spurs.