The Raptors announced Tuesday that veteran forward Linas Kleiza has been released using the amnesty clause.
“We thank Linas for his contributions as a Raptor and wish him all the best,” Raptors president Masai Ujiri said in a statement.
Kleiza, 28, averaged 7.4 points and 2.6 rebounds in 20 games for the Raptors last season. He was set to earn $4.6 million in 2013-14 after agreeing to a four-year deal worth $18.8 million in 2010. Per the terms of the league’s amnesty provision, the Raptors will still owe Kleiza that salary but it will be removed from their books for salary cap and luxury tax purposes.
The seven-year veteran played in just 108 combined games in his three years in Toronto. The Raptors, who hired Ujiri to replace former GM Bryan Colangelo this summer, are in the middle of a roster retooling that also included trading Andrea Bargnani to the Knicks. After trading for Rudy Gay, extending DeMar DeRozan, drafting Terrence Ross and landing Steve Novak in exchange for Bargnani, there wasn't any foreseeable circumstance in which Kleiza, a combo forward, would play meaningful minutes for Toronto next season.
Kleiza will now enter a blind bidding pool, where teams that are under the salary cap can submit offers to take on a portion of his contract. If no bids are made in the blind pool, Kleiza will become an unrestricted free agent. Tuesday was the last day of the 2013 offseason for teams to use their amnesty clause. In addition to Kleiza, Bucks forward Drew Gooden, Lakers forward Metta World Peace, Heat forward Mike Miller and Bobcats forward Tyrus Thomas were among this year's amnesty casualties.