Zalgiris Kaunas reached an agreement with homegrown point guard Mantas Kalnietis, who penned a one-year deal with the Lithuanian powerhouse on Friday. Kalnietis (1.95 meters, 29 years old) arrives from Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar, where he averaged 3.4 points and 1.6 assists in 5 Eurocup games last season. Born in Kaunas and raised in Zalgiris, Kalnietis made his Euroleague debut with the team in the 2005-06 season. He played seven Euroleague seasons with Zalgiris and another one with Lokomotiv, totalling 818 points and 329 assists in 114 games. Kalnietis helped Lokomotiv lift the Eurocup trophy and reach the VTB League finals in 2013. He also led Zalgiris to win the one-off ULEB Summer League in 2007, earning tournament MVP honors. Zalgiris helped Zalgiris win 4 Lithuanian League, 4 Baltic League and 3 Lithuanian Cup titles from 2006 to 2012. He is also a regular member of the Lithuanian national team, helping it get it get a bronze medal at the 2010 FIBA World Cup and a silver medal at EuroBasket 2013.
"Getting back to Zalgiris is a good feeling. I grew up here and am happy that I will be able to play again in Kaunas. Maybe I didn't expect to return to the team so soon but I am glad I made this choice. In particular, I am pleased to be completely healthy and I hope to help the club achieve its goals," Kalnietis said. "All of us really want to get past the Euroleague Top 16. We want our fans to celebrate that we reached the playoffs and fight to make it to the Final Four."