Raptors trade Marco Belinelli to Hornets for Julian Wright

The Toronto Raptors announced Wednesday they have acquired forward Julian Wright from the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for guard Marco Belinelli.

Wright, 6-foot-8, 225 pounds, was the 13th overall selection by the Hornets in the 2007 NBA Draft. He has played in 179 career games, making 34 starts. He scored a career-high 20 points on March 7 in both the 2008 and 2009 seasons. He grabbed a career-best 14 rebounds as part of his first career double-double (11 points) March 27, 2007 at New York.

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

Wright appeared in a career-best 68 games with 14 starts last season, shooting .500 (116-232) from the field. He started 14 of 16 games in March 2009, averaging 8.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 23.6 minutes. He owns career averages of 4.0 points, 2.3 rebounds and 12.7 minutes. He has seen action in 15 postseason games with New Orleans.

An early entry draft candidate after two seasons at the University of Kansas, Wright was a collegiate standout leading the Jayhawks to the conference championship in the 2006 and 2007 campaigns. He was an All-Big 12 First Team choice as a sophomore averaging 12.0 points and 7.8 rebounds. He averaged 8.5 points and 4.6 rebounds as a freshman enroute to a Big 12 All-Freshman Team selection.

Wright won the prestigious Mr. Basketball of Illinois award as a high school senior in 2005. He is part of an impressive list of 15 players since 1981 that have captured the honour and played in the NBA, highlighted by Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls) and Kevin Garnett (Boston Celtics).

Belinelli was acquired from Golden State on July 30, 2009 for forward Devean George and cash considerations. He averaged 7.1 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 66 games in his lone season with the Raptors.

April 12, 2010: Toronto Raptors' Marco Belinelli (0) during the NBA basketball game between the Toronto Raptors and Detroit Piston at the Palace in Auburn Hills, Michigan.