Originally published August 11, 2010 at 01:55p.m., updated August 12, 2010 at 12:00a.m.

Raptors acquire Julian Wright

Julian Wright, right, poses for a photo with NBA commissioner David Stern after being selected by New Orleans Hornets as the 13th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.

Julian Wright, right, poses for a photo with NBA commissioner David Stern after being selected by New Orleans Hornets as the 13th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.


Former Kansas University basketball forward Julian Wright, who posted on his Twitter account last February that he was “jealous of all those players that managed to get traded (before the deadline),” need not be envious of his peers any longer.

Julian Wright headed to Toronto

The former KU basketball player got traded to the Raptors from the New Orleans Hornets.

The 6-foot-8, 225-pounder — he played his first three seasons in the NBA with the New Orleans Hornets — was shipped to the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday for guard Marco Belinelli.

The No. 13 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft has averaged 4.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in 179 career games. Belinelli, acquired from Golden State last summer, averaged 7.1 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 66 games with the Raptors.

“This move should help balance the roster and alleviate some of the redundancy we have with our guards,” Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo said. “Julian is another young athletic player that will add depth at the small forward position.”

Wright, 23, appeared in a career-best 68 games with 14 starts last season, shooting 50 percent (116-232) from the field. He started 14 of 16 games in March of 2009, averaging 8.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 23.6 minutes.

Wright — he played two years at KU, earning first-team all-Big 12 honors his sophomore season after averaging 12.0 points and 7.8 rebounds — caused quite a stir in New Orleans with his trade request on Twitter last season.

Here were his series of Tweets as reported by the New Orleans Times Picayune:

“Off to practice, thinking bout how I’m jealous of all these players that managed to get traded before Thursday...”

“Just saying, might need a change of scenery, of course I love New Orleans! Bought a house here.”

“Not bout blaming anyone. Just thinkin bout the C. Fryes, S. Browns, and the G. Wallaces, of the league who just needed a change of scenery.”

He posted an apology later the same day, stating: “I apologize for venting and making anybody uncomfortable. I just worked hard these past two summers so that’s what I’ll do this summer!”

He added to the Times Picayune the following day: “I was venting. I was a little frustrated. But you just have to catch yourself. When you’re frustrated, you always have to be responsible and be mature. That was just a slight break in that maturity.”

New Orleans management didn’t get worked up over Wright’s Tweets, and Wright later said he’d have to work hard this offseason to earn more minutes with the Hornets.

However, the Times Picayune said he declined to play for the Hornets’ summer league team. The paper said Wright “likely would have struggled to get playing time behind rookie Quincy Pondexter.”

Wright will make $2,858,057 in 2010-11 and has a $3,952,653 qualifying offer for the 2011-12 season.

ISU arena flooded: The basketball court at Iowa State’s Hilton Coliseum was submerged in several feet of standing water Wednesday as a result of severe flooding in Ames, Iowa.

ISU senior associate athletic director David Harris told the Ames Tribune that water was in lower bowl of Hilton Coliseum, but not up to the seats. Hilton Coliseum was also damaged by 1993 floods.

ISU football players helped protect the Jacobson Athletic Building by sandbagging the area, which was flooded after Squaw Creek overflowed its banks. The Cyclone football team started sandbagging at 8:15 a.m. Wednesday. Most of the team was already at the facility working out.

“It was unbelievable,” defensive tackle Jake McDonough told the Tribune. “We were running all over the place trying to protect the building. I’ve never seen anything like this.”

ISU football coach Paul Rhoads said he was proud of the way his players responded to the flood. The building did not take in any water.

“I have a very mature group of young men,” Rhoads told the Tribune. “This morning they jumped on their responsibilities of putting objects in secure places and then getting the building sandbagged.”


Tony Bandle 8 years, 9 months ago

Toronto is a beautiful city, but the economics of the US dollar vs the Canadien dollar plus the tax hits just suck. Toronto is not anywhere near competing for an NBA Crown and, JU JU, I am afraid you might have started your downward spiral out of the L.

Oh, how we all wish you would have stayed another year...still, maybe we don't win an NCAA. Best of luck, eh.

Clarence Haynes 8 years, 9 months ago

Nor were the Hornets near a crown! Toronto is a great town that I think Julian can afford.

RockChalkGuy 8 years, 9 months ago

How 'bout moving the Raptors to the Sprint Center?

keith horinek 8 years, 9 months ago

Darn good idea! Maybe someone will get that ball rolling, I would love to have an NBA team close by.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 9 months ago

With a team in KC, you could draw from Missouri [6 mil], Kansas [2.8 mil], Nebraska [1.8 mil], Iowa [3 mil], Arkansas [2.8 mil], North Dakota and South Dakota.[1.4 mil]. That's a fan base of almost 18 million.

If we could count cows and pigs we could multiply it by 10!!

PS It is a bit disturbing that these 2009 figures show Kansas and Arkansas virtually with the same populations. I'm guessing if they counted teeth, however, Kansas would be way ahead.

PSS How in the heck does Iowa have more people than Kansas?????

Clarence Haynes 8 years, 9 months ago

Not so fast! Toronto had avg attendance in excess of 17,000 which was 14th of 30 in the NBA. Toronto alone has a metro population of about 2.5 million and is Canada's financial, media, and commercial hub. It is owned by the same folks who own the Maple Leaf hockey team and I don't think that it is up for a move.

Jaminrawk 8 years, 9 months ago

Ouch. Playing for a team named at the height of Jurassic Park popularity in Canada. Well, maybe he'll get more PT there with Bosh gone and a young roster with promsing guys like DeRozen, Ed Davis and Solomon Alabi. Colangelo has had a schrewd eye in the past.

dynamitehawk 8 years, 9 months ago

Maybe Cole can help him with the lingo, and whatnot.

Funhawk 8 years, 9 months ago

Ya, yew bet-cha! But, Toronto is not nooohhhhh.

Kenny George 8 years, 9 months ago

JuJu single handedly won the 2008 NCAA tournament for us by leaving early for the NBA.

murph 8 years, 9 months ago

Him leaving and taking his "wildin' out", sloppy play, and huge ego out of the team certainly didn't hurt a thing. He's one ex-Hawk I didn't mind leaving one bit.

Brad Avery 8 years, 9 months ago

Left KU before he developed his game. Doesn't really have a position in the NBA. Hope he has invested well.

jaybate 8 years, 9 months ago

Maybe it was too hot and humid in New Orleans for Julian to beast. Toronto will fix that! Look out, NBA, the beast is back!

okjhok 8 years, 9 months ago

YES!! Beast mode...perhaps Marcus will show a little beast mode this year.

yovoy 8 years, 9 months ago

Loved watching him play when he was here. Versatility and desire were his weapons. A real gamer. If he made a mistake, he'd make up for it with 2 positive things. His versatility and desire made up for any skills that he lacked. He didn't really lack them, IMO, but they weren't as sharp as they could've been. He wasn't a diamond in the rough, and he was a brilliant diamond either. He was more like the diamond in a ring that could've been worth more had he been polished a bit more.

His leaving is what allowed that NC team to gel. His leaving led directly to the development of our bigs after he left. I'm sure that having to defend/play against his versatility when he was here had something to do w/ Darnell and Cha-cha developing as well. It didn't become imperative that they develop until he bolted. I'm personally glad he did - he was ready(ish), and I don't think he was going to help his draft status at all by staying.

Jeff Coffman 8 years, 9 months ago

He is still living the dream, and Toronto isn't the end of the world. I'd rather be there than the swampland that he was in.

brooksmd 8 years, 9 months ago

Amen. I have less than 5 months before I retire and don't have to drive into that cesspool anymore. Fortunately I live about 55 miles north in the high country (165 ft above sea level). Been to one Hornets game and will never go again unless the L abandons their thug entertainment.

yovoy 8 years, 9 months ago

the "thug" entertainment that you reference is what got people interested in the L again. with mj in decline and no obvious replacement, the suits needed to liven up the game a little bit, and got very, very cozy with an element that they hadn't really been comfortable with: they started marketing it as a more hip-hop (for lack of better word), youth-oriented affair. i'm not saying that it was right or wrong, i'm just saying that it was a conscious decision from high-up. baseball did the same thing with steroids: look the other way, while homers fly out of the park at an unprecedented pace. mlb had the long ball (remember the "chicks dig the long ball" commercial?), the nba had the vicious dunk, and a "street-ball" ethos. Both things tricked the purists/puritans into thinking that the skill had gone out of the game. They don't care because the game isn't for purists anymore. It's for the 28-45 year old yuppie, his trophy wife, and their darling kids in that oversized stroller. They don't care about guys that think the league has sucked since the shorts got long, and "certain" players stopped having high-and-tight hairdos. They care about that guy because he's not out to critique the game, he's out to show he's a bigshot.

forget the "thug" element: i won't go to a pro game because the venues are built on the backs of the "urban" taxbase. there's not a more illustrative case than the superdome in n.o. basically the stadiums/fieldhouses are built with money from people that will never be able to afford to attend a game, FOR people that CAN afford to go to a game. sure, there are donors, but the poor should not have to pony up for something they'll most likely not EVER get a chance to witness in person.

So then, who are the "thugs" in the L? The front office, the politicians of the home city, or the gladiators that are out there to entertain?

dj_godzilla 8 years, 9 months ago

I for one think he'll do much better in an all out running offense like Toronto. It'll also serve him well that he will be one of the few proven defenders on the team. Could put him into a lot of playing time if the Raptors are looking to change their mantra and focus more on defense. I don't think he'll ever be a shooter but I challenge you to show me a better finisher for the fast break. New Orleans offense was so incredibly bad for Julian's playing style. I'm excited about this change for him.

Martin Rosenblum 8 years, 9 months ago

Rather be a Raptor than a hornet in the scheme of things. Kinda like "rock, paper, scissors", raptors beat hornets every time!

Keith Kienzle 8 years, 9 months ago

You're the man, JuJu! Sportscenter is waiting for some more beast mode!

Timmay97 8 years, 9 months ago

I will never forget that game he played in Vegas his last year at KU against Florida. I was at that game (flew from NJ) and he as well as Darrell Arthur played unreal. That game still is the greatest college basketball game I have ever seen while sitting in the stands. It went to overtime, it sank Florida (at the time) from the top of its perch and started a pretty good run for the Jayhawks. I believe KU was 1 of only 3 or 4 teams that beat Florida that year on their way to their second national championship.

Heading to Vegas again this year. Might not see as great a game since they play Arizona, but still looking forward to it nonetheless.

Chris Shaw 8 years, 9 months ago

I will be in Vegas as well for those games (Ohio, Zona).

swjhawk 8 years, 9 months ago

There's a reason there's no NBA in KC. Think KC Kings. They couldn't draw diddley for crowds against Big 8 basketball.

WilburNether 8 years, 9 months ago

Wright has three primary problems trying to find his niche in the NBA:

  1. He does not shoot well enough to play the 3.
  2. He does not have the size to play the 4.
  3. While at Kansas, he inspired the creation of a new statistical category. You've heard of the assist-to-turnover ratio, right? Well, Julian's play required creation of the brilliant-to-boneheaded play ratio. I don't think I've ever seen a KU player with so much talent who vacillated so radically between brilliant play and boneheaded play.

I still remember sitting behind the KU bench in the Elite 8 game versus UCLA in San Jose, and seeing Coach Self get totally frustrated with him in a game in which Wright's brilliant-to-bonehead ratio was substantially negative. Self jerked him twice after particularly egregious failures, and Wright came back to the bench with a dazed look on his face. Contrast his awful performance in that game with his brilliant performances against Florida and Missouri, and you see the problem. NBA teams cannot afford to keep someone that inconsistent on their roster.

He's not going to be able to alter his body type, but If he develops a better outside shot and can get his on-court, decision-making head on straight, he has a chance to have a successful NBA career. But the way he's going now...I'm not optimistic.

yovoy 8 years, 9 months ago

Okay, since you said "so much talent" I might agree, as I was going to say Nick Bradford. Ju was a taller NB with LOADS more talent.

I don't agree. Ju wasn't afraid to make mistakes. He wasn't afraid to go for the homerun. In games when he wasn't "brilliant" he made others better. We haven't had a better passer at that position in AGES. When he flashed high, in the middle of the zone, and got the ball, it was over: he was going to hit the elbow J, or Cha-cha was going to get a dunk. Some of his "bonehead" play was that other players weren't ready to receive the passes they'd get from him. If the guy throws a perfect dime, and his teammates don't catch and convert, he's not completely at fault. For all his errors (remember he was pretty young), we were better with him (while he was here) than we would've been without him. Also we shouldn't forget that he contributed to more "big" wins than just MU and Fla. Um, Texas - at least twice! He did things that didn't show up in the box score. When he was around, other teams had to plan how to play us, and it's really hard to gameplan against a guy that's a brilliant athlete EVEN IF he's a bonehead.

Many people around here give him less leash than they give TT, and I don't understand that.

I enjoyed watching him play.

We all wish him well, or curse him. Either way, he's rich, and he made our team better.

WilburNether 8 years, 9 months ago

You obviously did not see the UCLA game, which was Wright at his boneheaded worst. There were other such games, of course, and far too many of them, but that was the big one.

When do you think we'll see a team win an Elite 8 game with 25 turnovers again? UCLA did it because they had plenty of help from their opponent.

You also did not see the expression on Bill Self's face when he jerked Wright TWICE in the course of the game after a sequence of particularly boneheaded plays.

Wright has talent, no question about it, and when he's "on," he can be brilliant. But he loses his head on the court too often, and he needs to get mentally straight if he's going to have a successful career in the NBA. His coaches at New Orleans finally had had enough of him, and got rid of him. I hope he can harness that talent, and be successful with his next team. This may be his last chance.

There are too many lapdogs out there who are either unwilling or unable to recognize obvious flaws in the KU jocks whom they idolize to an unhealthy degree.

Sam Constance 8 years, 9 months ago

I will always remember Julian for two things:

1) His decision to leave for the NBA helping us to win the 2008 National Championship. I'm convinced that it doesn't happen with him on the team.

2) His classic "Acting like he's hurt because he just got rejected by the rim on a jam" dunk.

Honestly, I have to say that given a choice between a less-spectacular, consistent player like Brady Morningstar and a more-spectacular, wildly inconsistent player like Wright, I would choose the "boring" player 9 times out of 10. I was always the Julian naysayer in my circle of basketball-watching friends during his time at Kansas.

kranny 8 years, 9 months ago

Wright's problem was his attitude with his coach in New Orleans.

jaybate 8 years, 9 months ago

"Julian and the Rising Sun"

This is a moment that hopefully only comes once in a player's career.

Julian needs to grasp the moment lightly, rather than seize it.

He needs to understand that his trade is to such a mediocre organization and is of such inconsequence to the Raptors that they do not even mention his acquisition on their web site's recent news page.

Next, Julian needs to understand that GM Brian "Nepotista" Colangelo probably acquired him as a shafting-favor to the GM in New Orleans in hopes of being done a return favor some time in the future--like being hired by some mediocre organization in the lower 48.

Next, Julian needs to realize that he can learn a lot about mediocrity from Colangelo and Coach Brian Triano. These two fellows understand the fine art of hanging on parasitically in the NBA.

Julian has a career decision to make.

He did the wrong thing bad mouthing New Orleans. He should have kept his mouth shut and kept cashing his check in US currency with out the added tax bite of Canada being thrown in. Julian needs to wise up and understand that that is the very reason for the existence of the Toronto franchise. Every organization has a excrement detail--a fecalhouse--where the guys who still want to be the best they can be and agitate for the chance get sent, as punishment for exposing everyone else's commitment to mediocrity.

Julian needs to realize he's been screwed by the best in the Big Easy. Turds of a feather flock together and everyone associated with the New Orleans franchise is waste matter in a big slick suit.

"You have to pay to get into and out of these things twice." --Bob Dylan

Toronto is the second half of Julian's payment.

"There is a house in New Orleans/ And its called the Rising Sun/ Its been the ruin/ Of many a poor boy/ And god, I know, I'm one." --author unknown

To get out of "The House of the Rising Dung," Julian has to realize that if he wants his self respect that they tried to take from him in New Orleans back, he has to fight for it now more than ever.

Everyone who ever knew and believed in him, plus all the true NBA GMs (not the nepotistas, but the truly qualified ones with high IQs and high basketball IQs), are watching him now.

jaybate 8 years, 9 months ago

Toronto is the acid test. He has to work harder now, play harder, get better, and fight the temptation of mediocrity now more than ever. He has to network. He has to be smart. He has to keep cashing his checks. Don't get mad. Don't get even. Get their money.

Once he breaks out of Toronto, he will be a true professional and a free man.

If he breaks out of Toronto.

"Oh mother tell your children Not to do what I have done Spend your lives in sin and misery In the House of the Rising Sun." --author unknown

You can still play, Julian.

You are still the man that Bill Self once beheld in awe.

You can still become the Dennis Rodman of this era, but you don't need to do his crazy schtick.

Rebound, Julian, rebound. You have the tools to out Rodman Dennis Rodman.

But you've got to survive long enough to land with real basketball guys like Chuck Daley and Phil Jackson.

Get mean.

Get stronger.

Become the lock down man.

The rebound man.

The man the other teams know they cannot handle, because you are tireless and beasting on defense, the way you used to beast on offense.

Forget about the shot.

Forget about offense.

(Organ solo)

But don't forget New Orleans.

Never forget New Orleans.

"and the house of the Rising Sun..."

Tim Bingaman 8 years, 9 months ago

Love you JuJu!!!! Awesome player and a key ingredient of "Mario's Miracle" SI cover. His face & body language willing the ball in is great. Dude is so in the moment. Like everyone was... but, I loved seeing him there in San Antonio. Totally enjoying being a Jayhawk even though he left early...

Much success in Toronto!

jaybate 8 years, 9 months ago

"Some Ways You Know Julian Got the Shaft"

~Knife stuck in back has Hornet logo embossed on handle.

~Byron Scott heard giggling as he tongue polishes Magic Johnson's Ferragamos.

~Chris Paul looking at his boat house on Lake Ponchartrain, stops humming The Godfather Theme and says, "Fredo, I mean Julian, you mean nothing to me now."

~Darren Collison gets Larry "All Time Great" Bird for a President, while Julian gets Brian "Nepotista" Colangelo for a GM and Brian ""My Best Years Were at Simon Fraser" Triano.

~New Orleans basketball groupies called The Hornettes, aka the Whorenettes, are saying, "Bring on Trevor Ariza. We need new beasting around here."

~Born-again, but reader-desperate Anne Rice returning to horror with "The Vampire Julian."

~New Orleans GM heard to say, "And if he gives us any grief in Cannuck Siberia, we'll see to it that his next stop is the Devil's Island Papillons of the French Guiana Instructional League.

(Note: All fiction. No malice.)

Martin Rosenblum 8 years, 9 months ago

Trading Hurricanes for Labatts won't be that hard.

At least he won't have to hear that ridiculous "Who Dat?" any longer.

French Canadian is more palatable than Bayou French.

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 9 months ago

I think it was obvious to most people Ju needed another year but he was a lottery pick and SHOULD be financially secure for the rest of his life. He and DA can start hanging out together in the near future.

Lance Hobson 8 years, 9 months ago

He's been quite a flop in the NBA, but at least he's gotten rich. At best he can just hope to have a long career bouncing from team to team and not really doing anything special, e.g. a Drew Gooden career.

murph 8 years, 9 months ago

He'll never last as long as Drew Gooden. Drew will work at his role and, most of all, will accept coaching. He understands who the boss is, unlike JuJu who thinks the world revolves around him. When a little more age starts slowing that athleticism, he's out to pasture.

hawksince51 8 years, 9 months ago

Agree--he is no Drew Gooden. Drew has often started and has always played significant minutes everywhere he has gone; no surprise since his size and ability are much better suited for the NBA than are Julian's. Wright is just another of a long list of examples of the stupidity of the "drafting on potential" that is so popular with the NBA. I agree with those who said that Wright was smart to go early before his weaknesses were exposed, and also those who said he made a significant contribution to the 2008 NC by no longer being on the team then.

jaybate 8 years, 9 months ago


Here is my submission for revised lyrics with as little change as possible.

Talk about the Sooners, the Cowboys and the 'clones, Talk about the Tiger and his tail, Talk about the Wildcat, and those Red River boys, But I'm the bird to make 'em weep and wail.

'Cause I'm a Jay, Jay, Jay, Jay, Jayhawk Up at Lawrence on the Kaw 'Cause I'm a Jay, Jay, Jay, Jay, Jayhawk With a sis-boom, hip hoorah. Got a beak that's big enough to twist the Tiger's tail. Steal their oil and listen to those Texas boys wail. 'Cause I'm a Jay, Jay, Jay, Jay, Jayhawk, Riding on a Kansas Gale.

For the politically correct, stealing oil from Texas would be a virtuous act, after all the oil they have stolen from others. :-)

DoubleDD 8 years, 9 months ago

Julian we hardly knew you? I do hope things work out for you, being a Jayhawk in all. I'm just saying we hardly knew you. One more year and KU might of had back to back championships. Just wandering have you been back to KU since you left?

murph 8 years, 9 months ago

Julian wasn't on any National Championship team. He left the year before we won it in 2008, and I believe that contributed greatly to our ability to win it. He never really made it to the plus column until he was drafted. Then his "potential" got him a heck of a payday. As someone else already said, though, I hope he invested well. I don't think he'll have another that good.

Joel Hood 8 years, 9 months ago

So many people assume that he would have been better off sticking around KU for two more years. Why? If he had stuck around for two more years his weaknesses would have been exposed before he was drafted and he wouldn't have been taken on potential. The fact that he was traded means that someone in the League wants him - and he will continue to rake in the bucks. Financially, this was brilliant for him.

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