Basketball Prospectus: Unfiltered Everything Else is Fluff.

August 10, 2009

What does Kleiza signing portend for unsigned restricted free agents?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bradford Doolittle @ 3:02 pm

Today’s news that the Nuggets have lost restricted free agent Linas Kleiza, a former Missouri Tiger, to Olympiakos of the European League is as daunting to other NBA teams trying to hang onto restricted free agents as it is to Denver. Clearly, the various cap exceptions, qualifying offers and veteran minimums currently begin dangled by NBA teams are not economically competitive to the riches the restricted class can find overseas. It’s like the Mayflower is making its way back to the Old World.

According to Kleiza’s agent, there were never really any serious negotiations with the Denver brass. My guess is that the Nuggets were idling, hoping that the outside-shooting big man wouldn’t find an offer sheet elsewhere in the league and thus would accept the team’s $2.7 million qualifying offer. On one hand, the strategy was sound — Kleiza never did find a market for his services on this side of the pond. However, Olympiakos swooped in with two years, $12.2 million, which made Kleiza’s choice a pretty easy one. His pact does reportedly include an out-clause which would allow him to re-enter the restricted NBA free-agent market next summer.

Former Rocket Von Wafer will be joing Kleiza in Greece. Could there be more restricted free agents headed that way? Josh Childress has re-upped for second year, Ricky Rubio is sticking with DKV Jovenhut and Juan Carlos Navarro, whose NBA rights are still owned by Memphis, signed a five-year, $20 million deal with FC Barcelona. Could other restricted players stuck in limbo like Ray Felton, Ramon Sessions, Nate Robinson, David Lee, C.J. Watson and Joey Graham become the next dominoes to fall?

On the bright side, the Celtics retained restricted free agent Glen Davis.

As for the Nuggets … word over the last few weeks was that Mark Warkentien was having to choose between retaining Kleiza or bringing Anthony Carter back into the fold. Since the Nuggets already have promising rookie Ty Lawson to back up Chauncey Billups, that’s sort of like having to choose between a facelift and a second nose.


No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress