Lakers Rumors: L.A. Needs to Stay Away from Raja Bell

Jesse ReedCorrespondent IJuly 10, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 27:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers controls the ball against Raja Bell #19 of the Utah Jazz at Staples Center on December 27, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Raja Bell isn't the player he once was, and he's not the answer to the Los Angeles Lakers' bench woes of a year ago.

Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski:

Another possibility for Raja Bell: The Lakers. Kobe Bryant recruited Bell hard a year ago, and still fits as defensive-minded guard w/ Nash.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 8, 2012


Bell used to be one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA. He had the ability to get under the skin of many of the game's best players, and he infamously once close-lined Kobe Bryant so hard the league suspended him for one game

Bell also used to be a deadly shooter from the outside. He was one of the biggest threats on the floor back in the day when the Phoenix Suns were one of the best teams in the Western Conference.

Unfortunately, at the age of 35, Bell's best days are long since gone. 

I know the Lakers have not gotten any younger with the addition of Steve Nash, but that's no reason to continue the trend of adding NBA senior citizens to their roster this summer. They would be much better off trying to land Brandon Rush or O.J. Mayo to come off the bench.

Last year, Bell only played in 34 games for the Utah Jazz. He averaged just over 23 minutes a game, during which he averaged only 6.4 points and 1.5 rebounds a game. Surely the Lakers can find someone younger to do as well, if not better than that. 

Plus, if the concern is to bring in a defensive specialist to compensate for Nash's deficiency in that department, the Lakers already have a youngster who is perfect in that role—Darius Morris. 

Bell is washed up. He needs to retire, and the Lakers would be foolish to bring him in, hoping he can somehow conjure up what has long since faded.