Lakers Rumors: Raja Bell Must Be Considered to Rebuild the Bench

Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistJuly 10, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 08:  Raja Bell arrives for a National Basketball Players Association meeting to discuss the NBA Lockout at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers on November 8, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers have one of the best starting lineups in the NBA, but they can't be content to stop there. Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum need some help off the bench. 

As Kobe continues to age, finding a viable shooting guard to replace him for spurts throughout the game is essential. According to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, one could be considered soon enough: 

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 would be the perfect fit for the Lakers and is a player who should be heavily recruited as the management attempts to build up the strength of the second line. 

The shooting guard may 35 years old—he'll turn 36 before the start of the 2012-2013 season—and he's clearly on the downswing of his career, but he can be valuable in a smaller role off the bench. It's not like the Lakers are going to wear him out by playing him for over 20 minutes per game as the Jazz did last season. 

Although Bell and Kobe have had their share of feuds throughout their times in The Association, teaming up would enable both of them to stay fresh and healthy. Kobe obviously remains the starter, but there wouldn't be a tremendous drop-off defensively when he caught his wind on the pine. 

Bell is still an upper-tier perimeter defender and a solid spot-up shooter. As long as he's not asked to create his own shot on a regular basis, he can thrive in this small role. 

Plus, Bell already has established chemistry with Nash. The two have been close friends for a long time and could serve as comfort blankets for each other as they move on to a new home. 

The shooting guard most likely wouldn't be signed for anything but the mini mid-level exception of $3.09 million or the veteran's minimum of $1.4 million, which makes him a low-risk signing. 

In this case, it's a low-risk signing that must be considered.