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Kobe, Lakers want Raja Bell in free agency

Jun 22, 2010, 9:57 PM EST

Thumbnail image for Raja Bell clothesline.jpg
Do not adjust your computer screen. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Los Angeles Lakers have taken a strong interest in free agent guard Raja Bell, with Kobe Bryant being one of Bell’s strongest advocates.
Bell is a “Three-and-D” guard who is best known for his physical brand of defense and his feud with Kobe Bryant when the Suns and Lakers met in the 2006 Playoffs. Bell and Bryant exchanged verbal and physical barbs with each other over the duration of the seven-game series, culminating in the pictured clothesline in game five. 
When asked about Bell, Kobe Bryant said that he didn’t know who Raja Bell was, and continually referred to him as a “kid,” despite the fact Bell is actually older than Bryant. Bryant also said that Bell might not have received enough hugs growing up; after Suns won game seven of the series, Bell’s mother reportedly entered the Laker locker room and asked Bryant if he needed a hug.
All of that is apparently water under the bridge now, as the two players have developed a strong mutual respect for each other (deep down, they likely had the same respect for each other when they were enemies on the court), and both are very open to the idea of Bell joining the Lakers next season. 
On the court, Bell would make a lot of sense for the Lakers, and could even take Derek Fisher’s spot in the starting lineup. With Bryant, Gasol, Artest, and Odom being the main playmakers in the triangle, all the Lakers really need their “point guard” to do is play physical defense, make open threes, and refrain from doing anything stupid. Bell excels in all three of those areas. One adjustment the Lakers would have to make if Bell took Fisher’s starting spot would be that while Fisher is a left-handed player and often drove to his strong hand, the right-handed Bell operates almost exclusively from the right side of the floor off the bounce. 
If Kobe and Bell have really put their issues behind them, which it appears they have, this move would make a lot of sense for the Lakers. 
  1. 2Phatt - Jun 23, 2010 at 7:28 PM

    Bell would be a great addition, releasing Farmar, Brown, DJ, Powell and trading Luke waton would be FANTASTIC. Signing Bell, resigning Fisher to a two year deal with last year a team option, make an offer to sign two players like Kyle Korvar(Mid Lev) for outside shooting at the 3 spot and Brad Miller(vet. Min) as a back up center.Find a quick point guard from one of the development teams and call it a day, defend your title, three-peat.

  2. kyle - Jun 23, 2010 at 8:08 PM

    this would work out if they still run the triangle and phil is back. With the triangle you dont need an elite point guard ron harper led 4 championship teams at the point and he was an old injured shooting guard. Toughness at the point thats all and bell is definetly tough

  3. Black Mamba ( Second Edition ) - Jun 23, 2010 at 9:57 PM

    Lakers are interested in Raja Bell, but they are reports of them also interested in Tracy McGrady. McGrady said that he wants to sign with the Lakers, and he is willing to take a pay cut if he does. Raja Bell and McGrady off the bench? I like it! Ohh please do the Chris BOsh trade to. That may we can bring back to Shactus!!!!

  4. Livin la Vida LA - Jun 23, 2010 at 11:56 PM

    Here is what L.A. needs to do, but likely can’t because of cap room.
    A. Get Phil back, which, despite what he says, I still feel like will happen. He’ll realize it’s to hard to leave this on the table (plus pressure from the players).
    B. Get a defensive-minded bench player.
    C. Get a point guard who can really move the ball (either starter or back up).
    Obviously Raja Bell would fill need B. He’s still solid on defense, can consistently hit threes more so than Sasha, Brown, Walton, Odom, and Farmar. He’s also had time to rest, so he should be healthy. Hopefully can can keep that up. If so, great fit, and likely affordable.
    When you look at need C, you have to assume this player is in addition to Fisher because let’s be honest, he’s coming back. Steve Blake would be an excellent addition in this spot because he can move the ball and hit mid-range jumpers and threes (and he’ll often be open off Kobe/Pau double teams).
    Wild card here is Tracy McGrady. It’s a risk, but reports say he’s willing to come off the bench. He obviously wouldn’t be able to command much money and he knows that. I think a slashing 2/3 with a jumper to back up Kobe/Artest is a good thing. He’d at least be good for 7-10 points on a decent night, and has the ability to go off.
    Can all of these moves happen? No, but I’d say most of them could. And don’t forget the inevitable talk of Bosh for Bynum. Mmm, I love the offseason.

  5. espntelepathy - Jun 24, 2010 at 6:54 AM

    Why do people keep comparing Bell to Harper? When Ron was in his early 20’s, he was the closest thing to Jordan. Yes, even closer than Clyde Drexler because the difference was that Ron had handles going left and right like MJ. He had air-time, everything until he busted his knee as a Clipper. He worked in the Tri offense because he was a big guard like MJ with handles. Raja Bell has NO handles. No comparison.

  6. thegooddr - Jun 24, 2010 at 9:01 AM

    The triangle isn’t a point guard friendly system.

  7. cdogg - Jun 24, 2010 at 3:50 PM

    i agree

  8. jehawoo - Jun 25, 2010 at 7:58 PM

    I agree. Bell would be a perfect fit and is a someone that lakers can get.

  9. teddy - Jun 26, 2010 at 9:16 AM

    i agree we need fisher back and raja bell would be great. and if they get rid of that luke walton 16 million contract they could give raja bell the mid level for the 5 million an d tracy mcgrady will take the mid level so that rest of 16 million they can give to phil jackson so he will still make like 11-12 million. can you if phill wanted to blow you out the water he could start kobe and the point tracy as the 2 shooting guard lamar odom at 3 and pau gasol at 4 small forward and andrew bynum at 5 center who you gonna guard you cant double none of them they would avg, like 120 agame easy. and he want to shut you down defence derek fisher kobe bryant ron artest raja bell and pau gasol wow we can play man on man and lock down everybody they might not score a 100 go get it mich kupc

  10. teddy wilson - Jun 26, 2010 at 9:26 AM

    the lakers need to get rid of luke walton adam morrison and jordan farmar is leaving so that would free up like 30 million i think they might get rid of debega and josh powell. i was ready on. http://www.latimes.com/lakers that shaq wants to come back to the lakers. but tracy and raja and derek fisher and phil jackson is a must then if shaq wants to take like 5 million then go get him to be on the bench only

  11. J - Jun 27, 2010 at 7:37 PM

    What’s the status on Raja Bell. Will he be a Laker on not.
    Where is Shaq O’neal going to play next year.
    Dallas or Boston.
    James G
    Trabuco Canyon

  12. Jason - Jul 4, 2010 at 2:37 PM

    The Lakers should sign Raja Bell and Tracy Mcgrady right away!!! I know Mcgrady is a risk but right now I know he just wants a championship. They need to get rid of Walton,Powell and Sasha cause they are just dead weight. Farmer is leaving and possibly Shannon Brown so they will have money from that. They need to get Bell and Mcgrady fast!!!

  13. Anonymous - Jul 6, 2010 at 2:39 PM

    overall i strongly think that the lakers can use any kind of defensive help…thats why i think raja bell would fit pretty good.

  14. Fel - Jul 6, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    I think Lakers can use all the defensive help they can get…thats why i think raja bell would fit pretty good in the line up

  15. Willie Rodriguez - Jul 8, 2010 at 12:01 PM

    I completely agree and I can’t believe there are still people who think Fisher is not and has not been a huge part of the Laker’s success during the post season. Have you guys forgotten that there is not trophy lifting if Fisher does not win game 5 which literally took it upon his shoulders to win it for us! Let’s not fool ourselves and give credit where credit is due and in my opinion we owe Fisher that much and the Lakers should do whatever is in their power to keep him on board. He brings much more than just play, this guy has Kobey’s respect and we all know that is not an easy merit to achieve! This guy is a winner and his leadership skills are contegious in the locker room! If I was the Lakers, I’ll give him a bonus is we get our 3peat to subsidice the difference in salary!!!

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