Golden State Warriors v Toronto Raptors

UPDATE: The Raptors made it official on Tuesday night after the move had been reported throughout the day. You can read my thoughts on the move below from the original report…

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This comes as no surprise, but on Tuesday we finally received word that the Raptors are reportedly going to amnesty Linas Kleiza and his $4.6 million cap-hit for the 2013-14 season.

With the trading of Andrea Bargnani, Kleiza and Amir Johnson were the only amnesty eligible contracts left on the Raptors’ books, and while it may not have been for a lack of effort, Kleiza’s injury history (he played just 108 out of a possible 230 games with the Raptors) and his inability to produce consistently made this move a no-brainer.

MLSE will pay the luxury tax someday if Masai Ujiri assembles a championship contender in Toronto, but you don’t pay the luxury tax to field a team whose best hope is probably the No. 6 seed in its Conference, and amnestying Kleiza’s contract takes the Raptors out of tax territory for the coming season.

Once the amnesty of Kleiza and the Dwight Buycks signing become official, the Raptors will have 14 players (Lowry, Buycks, Gay, DeRozan, Ross, Fields, Richardson, Novak, Acy, Johnson, Valanciunas, Hansbrough, Gray, Camby) under contract with a total payroll of about $69-70 million. Remember, while they’re already about $11 million over the salary cap, they’d still have roughly a couple million to work with beneath the luxury tax threshold (which is set at $71,748,000) and should still have a portion of their Mid-Level Exception to use after the Hansbrough deal.

Throw in the fact that the Raptors could buy out Marcus Camby and Quentin Richardson, and the team does have a small bit of wiggle room to add another player or two, where I’d like to seem them add one more point guard (Ujiri said yesterday that the team will still look into Julyan Stone once he completes his rehab process) and either another backup centre or another shooter.

As for Kleiza, he was never able to live up to the four-year, $18.8 million contract that Bryan Colangelo signed him to after an impressive 2010 World Championships performance. The 28-year-old finishes with averages of 9.8 points and 4.0 rebounds in 22.8 minutes per game over his 108 games with the Raptors. He shot 40.7 per cent from the floor for Toronto, 32.2 per cent from behind the arc, 75.9 per cent from the free throw line and posted an ugly Player Efficiency Rating under 11.

I suppose there’s the possibility that some team out there bids on Kleiza through the amnesty process or offers up a veteran’s minimum contract if he clears waivers to become a free agent, but with numbers like that over the last three seasons and the fact that he’s been an above average three-point shooter just once in his seven-year career, it’s hard to see how Linas can help an NBA team in 2013.

With that, as Spears noted, we’re much more likely to see Kleiza plying his trade overseas next season than we are to see him in the NBA.

Comments (11)

  1. nailed it! More great news from raptor land!

  2. That PER is gross.

  3. can they still sign alan anderson if camby and richardson are bought out he played well when needed

  4. Shouldn’t we be trying to tank?

  5. The “PER” stat is light – too many variables for it to be consistent….too many people use this stat as a standard to rate how effective a NBA player is or can be and if they can be part of a winning team….AND it shouldn’t be!
    For instance – of those minutes they (the players) are playing and being calculated from, how many of those minutes are in a time when the game is important? Are they garbage minutes to stack up the numbers – therefore the “PER” is higher – naturally, because it was taken in a different (easier) situation, rendering it not an effective insight to what the the player can do during regular play?
    Take a look at the all time list of best players according to the “PER” stat – I’m comparing the individual players to how they are rated according to “PER”….then you make the decision on who you would rather have on the floor for your team:
    Yao Ming has a better PER then Dr J
    Al Jefferson better PER then Vince Carter
    Shawn Marion better PER then Deron Williams
    Kevin Johnson better PER then Steve Nash
    Manu Ginobli better PER then Patrick Ewing
    Charles Barkley better then Magic Johnson, Kareen Abdul-Jabbar and Larry Bird

    These are just a few examples – In all of those examples I would take the later player for my team, the players with the worse “PER” then the direct competition. The later group won numerous more NBA or ABA Championships then their comparables. The “PER” stat is used to often and to heavily to judge over all talent and what a player does and contributes to the game and to the team. The stat is usable at best, it has some weight, it can be a signifigant piece for the assessment process of judging talent and success – but way too many times are people in the NBA community using this stat as the end all and be all of what a player is and what they contribute to winning. Let my stats show, that the “PER” stat is just a piece that can be used for support – a small piece, therefore not used as the only and deciding point of whether a player is “good or bad”…which is usually the case on here.

    • Youngjames, I’ve never used PER or APER as a definitive argument that a player is good or bad. It’s one number (and a more offensively weighted number) out of a plethora of numbers I use, along my own observations, to form an opinion. For example, if Kleiza’s PER had turned out to be surprisingly high, it wouldn’t have distracted me from the fact that he’s been a generally useless player for the last couple of years.

    • All of the comparisons you made are entirely debatable.

  6. Joey my boy – I apologize if my message seemed to be aimed at you – it wasn’t though. Actually in the case of Kleiza, the “PER” rating fits and he is a shitty player!
    I’m kind of parlaying the last “PER” comment on this article into a discussion of the stat itself. I see mostly that when discussing Demar or Rudy on here, Raps fans are quick to bring up their “PER” as support whether they are good for the team or if they are even good ball players. When speaking about some players, like Klieza, the “PER” rating fits – in the DD or RG case, I don’t believe it fits to what they are actually giving as players towards winning. And it is used to heavily as support in those arguments/discussions. It’s like saying Barkley is better then Magic because he has a better “PER” and that is what lots do when discussing DD and RG vs the likes of NBA’ers – talent assessment being based on what the “PER” is compared to the next guy.

  7. I’m almost sure the announcement for the signing of Beno Udrih will come any day now!
    I would personally love to see Mo-Williams as our back up next season – he is an adequate starter too, when Lowry enviably goes on the DL.

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