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Former KU star Ochai Agbaji joins Gradey Dick on Toronto Raptors via NBA trade

Kansas City native and former Kansas Jayhawks men’s basketball guard Ochai Agbaji has found a new home ahead of the NBA’s trade deadline.

Agbaji, a 23-year-old guard in his second season with the Utah Jazz, has been sent to the Toronto Raptors with center Kelly Olynyk in exchange for guard Kira Lewis Jr., forward Otto Porter Jr. and a 2024 first-round pick, according to ESPN.

Agbaji averaged 5.4 points (on 42.6% shooting) and 2.5 assists per game for the Jazz. He averaged 19.7 minutes in 51 games.

Agbaji joins fellow former KU star Gradey Dick on the Raptors’ roster. Dick was picked No. 13 overall by Toronto in the 2023 NBA Draft.

Kansas coach Bill Self said he hadn’t spoken with the Raptors about Agbaji.

“I don’t know enough about the trade, and I don’t know enough about the rosters,” Self said when asked his thoughts on the deal. “Ochai wasn’t playing a ton with Utah, so hopefully, this will open up some opportunities for him. Hope not at the expense of our other guy (Gradey Dick).”

After an up-and-down rookie season, Dick has strung together a couple of good games. On Monday, he even scored a career-high 22 points against the Pelicans.

Self called Dick’s 22-point effort “fantastic.”

For Agbaji, who already finds himself on the second team in his second season, being sent north was probably a reminder of the competitive nature of the NBA.

“It’s a business these days, so I think sometimes we hope for things for our guys based on the appearance of a position,” Self said. “I think that in the big picture, we’re looking at what’s best for him to have a career.

“Hopefully, this is a great opportunity to play some minutes because he probably needs to be seen doing some things and playing well just because of his age and the number of years he’s been in the league. His new contract is coming up and stuff like that. I think it’ll probably be a positive for him.”