DENVER - (AP) Forward Linas Kleiza has decided to leave the NBA to play professional basket ball for a team in Greece. Kleiza has chosen to play for Olympiakos, agreeing to a two-year deal worth $12.2 million.
Kleiza was extended a qualifying offer by the Nuggets in June, making him a restricted free agent and guaranteeing him a $2.7 million salary this season.
That's an 80 percent raise from the $1.5 million he earned last season but nowhere near what Olympiakos was willing to pay the Lithuanian forward who played at the University of Missouri.
Kleiza averaged 9.9 points and four rebounds last season. He got off to a sluggish start after the Nuggets pulled a four-year, $25 million contract extension off the table the night before the season started but came on strong down the stretch and was a key contributor off the bench in the playoffs along with J.R. Smith and Chris "Birdman" Andersen.
He averaged 6.9 points and 3.2 rebounds in the playoffs, after which he said he hoped to stay in Denver, although he was keeping all options open. The Nuggets retain Kleiza's NBA rights.