Arnas Butkevičius (to “Žalgiris” from “Ryto”)
The transfer of 29-year-old 199 cm tall Arno Butkevičius from “Ryta” to “Žalgiris” was the most famous event in the Lithuanian basketball domestic market. Looking at it from one side, the Klaipėda native went from the champions club to a team that didn’t even make it to the finals last season. However, it is not very important which places these teams took, because the reputation of “Žalgiris” is much higher, and the opportunity to return to the Euroleague does not come every day (A. Butkevičius played in the Euroleague tournament only in the 2014-2015 season, when he represented “Neptun”).
A. Butkevičius is starting his thirteenth season in the LKL premiership, and he wore the black-red shirt of the capital’s team for almost five previous seasons. The forward of the Lithuanian national team was never super productive, but in the last LKL season he scored 8.6 points and rebounded 4.9 balls.
Dovydas Giedraitis (to “Žalgiris” from “Lietkabel”)
Dovydas Giedraitis, 22 years old and 193 cm tall, only made his debut in the LKL championships last year. The debut was late due to the fact that the Vilnius native had previously spent four years in Spain and, representing Madrid’s Estudiantes club, played in the ACB league.
The experience gained in the strongest European national league came in handy for D. Giedračius last season while playing in “Lietkabel”. The young defender played reliably and confidently, scored an average of 8 points, so it was clear even in the middle of the season that it would be very difficult for the Panevėžys club to extend the contract with him.
In the summer, probably no one was very surprised to hear that “Žalgiris” paid a ransom to the “Estudiantes” club, which still belonged to the Vilnius native, and agreed with D. Giedračius on a long-term contract.
Kristupas Žemaitis (to “Wolves” from “Lietkabel”)
Kristupas Žemaicis needed a lot of time to prove his worth. However, the efforts did not go in vain and the Kaunian revealed himself in the ranks of “Lietkabelis” last season.
K. Žemaitis scored an average of 8 points and 3.6 assists in the LKL finalists’ team, a few months ago he received his first invitation to the Lithuanian national team and represented the country in the European Championships. After a successful season, the number of exciting offers has certainly increased, with the 26-year-old 191cm defender opting for Wolves’ new draft, where he enters his seventh season in the LKL.
Regiment Miniotas (to Wolves from Zalgiris)
Although Regimantas Miniotas made his debut in the Lithuanian national team, the level of “Žalgiris” was too high for the tall man. In the middle of last season, the 26-year-old 208-cm-tall resident of Kedai, who returned to his homeland from Spain, scored 5.2 points and 3.5 rebounds while playing for the Kaunas team, but the coaches expected him to be a more solid player not only in the LKL, but also in the Euroleague.
“Žalgiris” did not extend the contract with R. Miniotas, but the basketball player got a job in the “Wolves” club, where he is starting his seventh LKL season. In the ranks of Wolves, R. Miniot’s statistics will probably not be as dizzying as last season in Prienai, when he scored 18.5 points and 10.5 rebounds, but his role in the new team will certainly be more important than in Žalgiris.
Žygimantas Skučas (to Juventus from Pieno Zviigždžiai)
The road from Pasvalis to Uten can be named after Žygimantas Skučas. In 2019, the forward moved from Pieno Zviigždii to Juventus, in 2021 from Juventus to Pieno Zviigždii, and again from Pieno Zviigždi to Juventus in 2022.
The Kaunian played usefully in both teams. Last season in the Utena team, he scored 12.2 points and 4 rebounds, last season in the Pasvali team, he scored 11.8 points and 4.4 rebounds. However, Juventus’ goals are slightly higher than those of Pieno Zvižižživi, and the results are slightly better.
In the LKL championship, the 30-year-old 202 cm tall Ž.Skučas starts his eleventh season, and he changes the team for the sixth time (not counting the short period when he left for the French second league in the fall of 2018).
Mindaugas Girdžiūnas (to “Neptune” from “Ryto”)
At the end of 2017, Mindaugas Girdžiūnas, together with another Klaipėda native Arns Butkevičius, noisily moved from “Neptun” to “Ryta”. Now, after the old grievances were forgotten, M. Girdžiūnas, 33 years old and 188 cm tall, quietly returned to the team of his hometown.
During almost five seasons spent in the capital, M. Girdžiūnas became the winner of the Lithuanian Cup and LKL champion, and his contribution to the victory achieved by “Ryto” this year was very significant. The defender scored 8.5 points last season. “Neptūnas” fans can reasonably expect that the role of the returnee in the Klaipėda team will be even greater.
M. Girdžiūnas is already playing in the LKL championship for the fourteenth season, and he will wear the “Neptūnos” outfit for the ninth season.
Giedrius Staniulis (to “Gargždus” from “Šiauliai”)
Judging by the influence the basketball players had on the team’s game, Giedrius Staniulis’ decision to say goodbye to Šiauliai was perhaps the most painful and difficult to compensate for the loss of LKL clubs.
The 31-year-old, 206 cm tall Kaunian not only ranked tenth in points scored (average 12.4) and fifth in rebounds (average 6.6) in the LKL championships last season, but also did a lot of work that is not recorded in statistical protocols, which helped Šiauliai team to return to the LKL semi-finals.
However, the conditions offered by Šiauliai in the summer did not suit G.Staniulis, and he will start his tenth LKL season in the Gargžda team, which is making its debut in the strongest national league.
Mantas Rubštavičius (to “Lietkabelis” from “Žalgiris”)
The Panevėžys club signed contracts with two basketball players before the season, who became the most productive players of the European boys’ championships in the summer. Mantas Rubštavičius shone in the 20-year-old continental championships, Paulius Murauskas – in the 18-year-old championships.
Although 18-year-old P. Murauskas from Kaunas is younger, he played more matches in the LKL premiership and was already an important player for “Nevėžys” last season (scored 8.6 points).
M. Rubštavičius from Panevėžys made his debut in the LKL competition much earlier – at the end of 2018. At that time, he represented the team of his hometown, but then he moved to “Žalgiris” and played mainly in the backup team of this club. Last season, 20-year-old M. Rubštavičius, 198 cm tall, was allowed on the field in only one match during the LKL championships, during which he scored 2 points.
The two youngsters came to Lietkabels on different paths, but this season both should get a chance to prove that they are ready to play with men.
Benas Griciūnas (to “Lietkabelis” from “Neptūnos”)
Although Ben Griciūnas is already 28 years old, he played in the LKL premiership for just four seasons until this fall. The 213 cm tall man from Šiluti studied in the USA and signed his first professional contract only after graduating from university. After returning to Lithuania, the midfielder spent two seasons in “Šiauliai” and “Neptun”, and scored 11.5 points and 6.7 rebounds in the most successful last season. He ranked third in the LKL tournament in terms of rebounds.
The career description of B. Griciūnas, who signed a contract with “Lietkabel” this year, does not have such bright lines as in the biographies of the former midfielders of the Panevėžys team. However, this basketball player can be a suitable replacement for Djorje Gagić.
Rihardas Kuksiks (to “Pieno Žvaigždes” from “Nevėžys”)
In the last decade, the sharp-shooting Latvian had much bigger ambitions than playing in the middle-class teams of the LKL and even successfully competed in the Euroleague. But after that, Rihard Kuksik’s career curve took a downward turn. However, the 34-year-old 201 cm tall Riga player is still a great buy for any LKL middle team.
Last season, he was the leader of Nevėžio’s attack. Latvia scored 12.9 points and took ninth place in the LKL championships in terms of performance. In the summer, R.Kuksikas did not travel far and signed a contract with another club in our country, “Pieno Žvaigždei”. The Latvian LKL is already starting its fourth season.
Arnas Beručka (to “Wolves” from “Pieno Zviigždžiės”)
Arns Beručka was given an episodic role in the LKL teams for the first few seasons, and the defender’s self-confidence only strengthened after he went to Slovakia. Last year, the man from Vilnius returned to his homeland and fit in perfectly in Pieno Žvaigžde. The 25-year-old, 196 cm tall shooter scored 12.2 points last season and ranked 14th in the LKL premiership in terms of performance.
Now A. Beručka will have to prove that he can play usefully in a team that has higher goals. The defender, starting his fifth LKL season, was one of those signed by the Wolves club.
Titas Sargiūnas (to “Prienus” from “Žalgiris”)
In the Prienai team, one Guard was replaced by another Guard. Last season, 23-year-old Ignas Sargiūnas was one of the most important players of “Prieņi” and scored 12.2 points, but this defender went to Germany in the summer. And “Prienai” decided that his brother Titas Sargiūnas, who is four years younger, can follow in the footsteps of the former leader.
T. Sargiūnas already made his debut in the LKL championship last season, representing “Žalgiris”. True, the young man had few opportunities in the favorite team. The 19-year-old 190 cm defender played short and scored 1.7 points. He will undoubtedly have much wider opportunities in the Prieni team.
All off-season transfers between LKL clubs
“Žalgiris”: Arnas Butkevičius (“Ritas”), Dovydas Giedraitis (“Lietkabelis”).
Rytas: Tomas Lekūnas (Juventus).
“Lietkabelis”: Benas Griciūnas (“Neptūnas”), Paulius Murauskas (“Nevēžis”), Mantas Rubštavičius (“Žalgiris”).
Wolves: Regimantas Miniotas (Žalgiris), Kristupas Žemaitis (Lietkabelis), Arnas Beručka (Milk Star), Vitalijs Kozys (Jonava).
Jonava: Vytautas Šulskis (Juventus), Adomas Sidarevičius (Neptunes).
Juventus: Žygymantas Skučas (Milk Stars).
“Neptūnas”: Mindaugas Girdžiūnas (Rytas), Rokas Gustys (Juventus).
Pieno Žvaigždės: Rihardas Kuksikas (Latvia; Nevėžis), Evaldas Šaulys (Jonava), Ignas Vaitkus (Juventus), Martynas Zigmantavičius (Dzūkija), Justas Furmanavičius (Dzūkija).
“Nevežis”: Paulius Petrilevičius (“Milk Stars”).
“Prienai”: Titas Sargiūnas (Žalgiris), Karolis Giedraitis (Lietkabelis), Arnas Adomavičius (Rytas), Klaidas Metrikis (Neptūnas).
“Gargždai”: Josh Newkirk (USA; “Dzūkija”), Giedrius Staniulis (“Šiauliai”), Karolis Guščikas (“Milk Stars”).