EA7 Emporio Armani Milan added a frontcourt scorer to its lineup on Monday with the signing of Linas Kleiza, the 2010 Alphonso Ford Top Scorer Trophy winner, to a one-year deal. Kleiza (2.03 meters, 29 years old) arrives from Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul, for whom he averaged 10.1 points and 3.5 rebounds over 24 Turkish Airlines Euroleague games as a part-time starter. Kleiza netted a season-high 26 points against Milan in a Top 16 road game in January. He added 8.6 points and 3.2 rebounds in the Turkish League to help the club win the title. That was Kleiza’s second Euroleague campaign after spending the 2009-10 season with Olympiacos Piraeus. He helped the team reach the title game in Paris and won the Ford Trophy with an average of 17.1 points per game. Kleiza also was second in the league with an average performance index rating of 17.9 and fourth with 6.5 rebounds per game as he earned All-Euroleague First Team honors. He helped the Reds win the Greek Cup that season.
A product of basketball schools on two continents, Kleiza grew up in Lithuania before leaving to study in the United States at age 16. He later played two years of college basketball at the University of Missouri, recording 16.1 points and 7.6 rebounds in his sophomore season. Kleiza began his professional career with Denver in the NBA, where he spent four seasons. After his one season at Olympiacos, Kleiza spent three seasons with Toronto of the NBA. He has also become a regular for the Lithuanian national team and taken part in the Olympics, world and European championships. Kleiza helped Lithuania win bronze medals at EuroBasket 2007 and at the 2010 FIBA World Championships.