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Report: Lakers show interest in Raja Bell

Nov 23, 2012, 2:15 PM EDT

Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

Kobe Bryant has long been interested in adding Raja Bell as a teammate.

He tried to convince Bell to sign in Los Angeles back in 2010, but Bell chose to go with Utah instead. Now, with Bell’s former coach Mike D’Antoni holding down the head coaching job in Los Angeles, the team might be interested in Bell’s services once again.

Bell is under contract with the Jazz, but not with the team due to an agreement to disagree over his diminished role there. The team has given Bell permission to seek out other options, which brings us to this.

From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

Bell, 36, has had strong advocates with general manager Mitch Kupchak and Kobe Bryant since the summer, but D’Antoni’s history coaching Bell with the Phoenix Suns has amplified discussion of signing the veteran guard should the Lakers create an opening on their roster.

Bell is still under contract with the Jazz, but the team has allowed him to stay away this season until he finds a suitable offer and the two sides can execute a buyout. Once Bell has secured a contract for the veteran’s minimum elsewhere, the Jazz will buy out the difference on the remaining $3.5 million on his 2012-13 contract. Bell wouldn’t lose any money between the buyout and joining a new team.

The finances would appear to make this deal undesirable for the Lakers, considering they’d have to cut someone with a guaranteed salary to sign Bell, and then pay Bell that vertan’s minimum to play in L.A.

Taking on added payroll doesn’t seem to be worth it in this case, for someone with Bell’s diminished skill set, who may struggle to even get minutes once Steve Nash and Steve Blake get healthy and are back in the regular rotation.

There’s a big question of whether or not Bell is capable of defending anywhere near the level he’s famous for, and whether or not what he can provide would be an upgrade over guys like Blake, Jodie Meeks, or Darius Morris at this stage of his career.

The one thing Bell has going for him is a career three-point shooting mark of 40.6 percent, and he was close to that in his time with the Jazz, making 39.1 percent of his attempts from distance in 34 games with the team last season. But that might not be enough to entice L.A. to take on the added salary, especially for a player in the twilight of his career who may or may not be able to get anywhere near consistent minutes.

  1. readysethike - Nov 23, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    didnt Raja have a chance to come last year…even met with kobe and decided not to because rumor has it he doesnt like him

    • eventhorizon04 - Nov 23, 2012 at 3:19 PM

      I read that too.

    • dko83 - Nov 23, 2012 at 6:30 PM

      Not a rumor, these two get into it every time they see each other. Google Kobe vs. Raja and watch the numerous vids. Don’t know if I’d sign him and possibly breed contempt in the locker room. No question Bell can D up better than say Meeks (who hasn’t really played well this year), but I’d keep Meeks in the rotation and it’s only a matter of time before he drains 6-7 from three in a game, especially in D’Antoni’s offense.

  2. ron05342 - Nov 23, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    Why not? He’s at the Lakers minimum age requirement of 36.

    Perfect for our geriatric bench.

    • tsi431 - Nov 23, 2012 at 3:30 PM

      You realize there are only two players on the team 36 and over (Nash and Jamison)? Same as the Clippers, Knicks have 4 over 36. Does it really matter if your bench players are old? They only play 5-10 minutes a game max.

      • ron05342 - Nov 23, 2012 at 4:59 PM

        Sarcasm does seem to float above some posters’ heads here. 😐

        Okay, I will try to make it a bit more obvious for you: Kobe is 34, MWP is 33, Jamison is 37, Nash is 38, Gasol is 32. That is a very old team. 4 of the 5 starters are 32 or over.

        These guys are all wearing out before the 4th quarter starts. I said it before the season, and I am saying it now: they don’t have the energy to play 4 quarters. Just look at what happened in Sacto the other night.

        And they are thinking of added another 36 years to the roster?


  3. delusionalcardsfan - Nov 23, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    Another former Sun. Next they are gonna sign the friggin gorilla!

    • 00maltliquor - Nov 24, 2012 at 3:00 AM


  4. LPad - Nov 23, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    I see D’Antoni’s still using his standard defensive approach. Just throw a defensive player in there, give him no help, and hope for the best.

  5. LPad - Nov 23, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    Does Bell have to pass through waivers since he will be bought out? I thought this was rule change from the lockout.

  6. davidly - Nov 23, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    If the playoffs started tonight, the Lakers would be playing in Memphis. Hey, whadoya know…

  7. lakerluver - Nov 23, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    Thanks for educating that clown.

    • ron05342 - Nov 23, 2012 at 5:02 PM

      Who’s the delusional Laker clown now, doofus?

      Been a fan of the Lakers since 1967, probably before your daddy was born. I have forgotten more basketball than you will ever know.

      Bottom line, you can cry in your soup all you want about this Laker squad, but being 6-6 and losing to the likes of Sacto isn’t going to garner any optimism on my part any time soon.

      As far as the Clippers go, they are young, deep, and are going to run the Lakers right off the floor when they meet (they already did it once this season). Care to counteract that argument, DLF (delusional Laker fan)?

  8. hoodheisman - Nov 23, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    Jamison could become expendable here. His jumper is broken, he can’t really defend, but he has done a good job rebounding. Bell’s 3 point shooting will help more than Jamison’s rebounding.

  9. uscthom78 - Nov 23, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    Would love to see him clothesline kobe again. That was so awesome.

  10. paulhargis53 - Nov 23, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    tsi: The bench doesn’t matter? They only play 5-10 minutes?!

    The lakers had FOUR guys play heavy minutes off the bench in the playoffs last year, a time when you say the bench doesn’t matter. Eubanks at 14 was the lowest , Blake at 25.5 the highest.
    Nash 39, Kobe and Arrest 34, Gasol 32 and Howard with a bad back, playing uptempo offense, they will be dead come the playoffs. Without a bench this team is doomed. Adding a 36 year old Bell is redonkulous.

    Lakerslurper, yeah that’s right, you’re reduced to a cheering section because you can’t express yourself in your idiotic postings. Why do.t you just give up? You’re a bad joke at this point.

  11. BigBeachBall - Nov 23, 2012 at 9:20 PM

    Raja Bell brings the nasty…. a quality Kobe values….
    barnes and artest became lakers because of it… why not bell…

  12. jerdogthompson - Nov 23, 2012 at 9:49 PM

    Yep……..bring another 36 year old. Only helps.

  13. savvybynature - Nov 24, 2012 at 12:04 AM

    Well a 3 and D type player (or a couple) would certainly help, but it’s hard to see their rotations and chemistry gelling with all these changes during the season.

    Gonna be tough to come out of the West with other good teams like Memphis, OKC, (the other) LA, and SA who all have more experience together.

    Buss should have hired D’Antoni and put this team together in the offseason, not late November.

  14. 00maltliquor - Nov 24, 2012 at 3:13 AM

    1) We got a roster spot open, no need to cut and eat salary.
    2) Mickeal freakin’ Pietrus, Delonte “Crazy Pills” West. C’MON Mitchy Slick, stop lolligaging and get a deal for one or BOTH of those players already!!!! Let’s not waste our time on Raja Bell punk a$$! He had his chance! Sign West. Cut Clark and sign Pietrus! DO IT!!!

  15. paulwoodsby - Nov 24, 2012 at 3:49 AM

    Another bad apple on a team full of punks? I’m waiting for a video of a Laker locker room brawl.

  16. paulhargis53 - Nov 24, 2012 at 5:14 AM

    What part of when they said they aren’t adding more salary don’t you guys get?!

    This is the team you’re rolling with, and it isn’t enough to get it done.

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