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Julian Wright refuses to enter game for Raptors, apologizes

Mar 27, 2011, 1:00 PM EDT

Toronto Raptors v Golden State Warriors Getty Images

Julian Wright never seems to have understood that the problems he’s faced in his NBA career are not the work of the bogeyman. He’s not the victim of a conspiracy to keep him off the floor. He struggles with basic flow on both sides of the ball and has never been able to apply his considerable athleticism in a meaningful way.

A fresh start in Toronto was supposed to mean that for him. It was a chance to get out of the doghouse in New Orleans and start over. But instead, he’s vanished from sight again. And on Friday, he wound up disappearing on purpose.

Wright was told by head coach Jay Triano to enter the game during a blowout to the Warriors Friday night, and Wright responded by staying on the bench, according to Triano. On Saturday, he apologized to his coach and the team:

Wright addressed the coaches and his teammates in a game-day meeting earlier today.  He apologized for his actions but said “everyone understood” his frustration.

“The best way to put it is this was not characteristic of me,” said Wright.  “That’s why I think this is (now) a thing of the past.”

Wright, who is the Raptors union rep, wouldn’t say whether or not he regretted his decision, simply saying that things have been handled internally and the team is just going to “finish strong”.

He has not been suspended … he is at the arena and is getting set to get dressed for the game.

Whether or not Wright has been fined by the Raptors is being kept internal as well.

via FAN590 – Blogs – The Rap » Blog Archive » Wright Apologizes.

Wright pulling a stunt like this, regardless of circumstances, isn’t going to sit well with Raptors’ management. They took a chance on Wright to turn around his career which has been underwhelming in every aspect. It’s one thing for established veterans to pull stunts like this, like the situation in Detroit, and even then it draws criticism. Wright is flirting with ruining what may be his last chance for a productive career with an attitude like that.

(HT: HoopsHype)

  1. zackd2 - Mar 27, 2011 at 1:10 PM

    Enjoy Europe next year

    • tubal22 - Mar 27, 2011 at 3:35 PM

      I’m thinking China. He’d fit in with Starbury. I don’t know that Europe would put up with him.

  2. bigtrav425 - Mar 27, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    hey sometimes ya gotta do what isnt “popular” to make a statement.He has never really been given a chance to actually play alot and learn from his mistakes and be coached etc etc.Practice is great and all but real games is how ya learn in the end….That being said here is another guy who has alot of talent but came out atleast a yr to early.This is why it kinda should be like college football in a sense that the B-Ball players need to stay atleast 2 yrs

    • bernie19kosar - Mar 28, 2011 at 1:09 PM

      So you think the best way for Wright to show he deserves more playing time is to refuse to play?

      How about using the time you get to show that you deserve more?

      And this guy is a union rep? Yamma hamma.

  3. pudgalvin - Mar 27, 2011 at 1:42 PM

    Of course, it then will be difficult to get that playing time you think he needs when he refuses to go into a game.

  4. jmclarkent - Mar 27, 2011 at 2:22 PM

    It’s a scary state of events when marginal players try to play “diva”. I understand that he is a prospect, but it’s not like this kid is Evan Turner/Derrick Favors. I would cut him immediately and find some hungry “D-League’er” to fill his spot.

    You have to take a stand, eventually…

  5. yankeesjetsknicksrangers - Mar 27, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    I can see him on the Knicks next year, he can refuse to play Defense from the bench and fit right in.

  6. teke184 - Mar 27, 2011 at 4:06 PM

    Thanks, Juju, for giving definitive proof that the Hornets completely bent over the Raptors by trading you for Marco Belinelli straight-up.

    Hornets GM Dell Demps deserves a medal for pulling off that trade.

  7. khandor - Mar 27, 2011 at 11:03 PM

    1. Julian Wright is a defensive/rebounding specialist with limited offensive talent.

    2. The Raptors gave up 84 points in the 1st half vs Golden State on Friday night, enroute to an ugly 38 point loss.

    3. At no point did Jay Triano [head coach] ask Julian Wright to sub into the game during the 1st half.

    4. Although Julian Wright may not have a great deal of NBA talent, he is still a player with tremendous personal pride. Julian Wright did not bail on his teammates when he refused to sub into the game in the 2nd half … after the outcome of the game had already been determined and every other Raptors’ player had already been substituted into the game ahead of Julian Wright.

    5. Julian Wright refused to be disrespected in this way by his head coach.

    6. What Julian Wright did was wrong … but completely understandable if you know anything at all about the way a professional basketball player thinks about the game and his individual ability to play it in a constructive way at the highest level of competition within a given role that he has cultivated for himself over a period of years.

    7. Jay Triano made another in a long line of coaching blunders and should never have done what he did to Julian Wright in Friday night’s embarassing road loss to one of the other worst teams in the league.

    8. There are major internal problems with the Raptors franchise and this is just one small part of the deterioration of their team.

    • borderline1988 - Mar 28, 2011 at 9:23 AM

      In a sense, I agree with you. Jay Triano is an idiot – Golden State scored at will every time down the floor, and Triano was leaving one of his best defensive rotation players on the bench. He’s a nice guy, but he’s in way over his head as an NBA coach. Not a good play caller or play manager, and is not an expert with the X and O’s.

      However, Matt Moore is right. Julian Wright did something really stupid – and he’s just simply not a big enough star to outlast his own stupidity. He’ll be in Europe next year, and might have just lost his last shot as an NBA player.

      Anyways, these are the kind of things that happen when you get absolutely destroyed by a sub-.500 team. As you said, it’s probably a good thing that tempers flare and players get upset, because otherwise, it would signify a total lack of pride by the Raptors.
      I’ve lost my pride as a Raptors fan after that first half. I think I could’ve scored 30 points against the Raptors defense.

    • bernie19kosar - Mar 28, 2011 at 1:22 PM

      Disrespected by his coach?

      Only in the NBA can a player, he of the career averages of 3.9 PPG and 2.3 REB (For the Rebounding specialist no less!), be disrespected by being asked to do his incredibly lucrative job of playing basketball.

      The humanity…

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