ESPN: Raptors trade Marco Belinelli to Hornets for Julian Wright

As per Marc Stein of ESPN.

With the franchise firmly behind Sonny Weems and the Young Gunz regime, Belinelli looked to be the odd man out, and I should slap myself for being even a little surprised that Bryan Colangelo traded away a player he acquired less than a year ago after chasing for more than a year. It’s tough to say that we didn’t give Belinelli a fair shot at the job, he was the first wing off the bench and usually the 7th man behind Jarrett Jack. His occasional sweet dishes and unpredictable 3-3FG stretches made you wonder why he couldn’t perform like that more often, but as the season wore on you got the answer: the man is his own worst enemy. Instead of adapting himself to the flow of the game, Belinelli forces his will on the game, almost expecting ridiculous shots to go in just because he took them. They never did, at least not often enough.

His 0-4 from three-point range in Game 81 against the Bulls had to be the lowest point of his season and his career. In the biggest game of the season, Marco was given a chance and presented with four wide open threes and he blew them all. They weren’t even close and you got the feeling that he was as reliable as a rotation player as John Wayne Gacy is as a babysitter.

Julian Wright. Here’s all you need to know about him. He’s got athleticism in spades but the rest of his game takes a significant dive. He can’t shoot and doesn’t handle the ball well, but I doubt the Raptors acquired him for his offensive skills. Defensively, he’s a good player and at 23 he realizes that if he’s going to stick in the NBA it’s going to happen because of his defense, so I’m banking on him getting better by the year. A 6’8″ and 225lbs, he’s got a perfect NBA defensive body for a small forward and that’s where I reckon we’ll play him. He easily becomes the Raptors best wing defender and since we got him for a man who wasn’t doing a damn thing anyway, it’s hard to complain.

The deal makes sense from New Orleans’ perspective as well, on paper Belinelli’s a career 39% shooter from three-point range which should give Chris Paul an option to kick-out to on the wing. With James Posey saddled to a big contract, Wright posed as a redundancy which they parlayed into a player they could use.

Salary-wise, Belinelli made $2.4M next year and Wright makes $2.8M, both come off the books next summer and have very similar qualifying offers. It’s a trade which even the ESPN Trade Machine agrees that will have very little impact either way. It’s also a bit of an anti-climax as the trade discussion that I would have liked the Raptors to be part of is this one right here.

Here’s Wright’s Twitter.

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