NBA News: Lakers Would Be Wise to Sign SG Raja Bell

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIINovember 23, 2012

Raja Bell would be reuinted with head coach Mike D'Antoni and Steve Nash (right) should he sign with the Lakers.
Raja Bell would be reuinted with head coach Mike D'Antoni and Steve Nash (right) should he sign with the Lakers.Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

The history Raja Bell has with new Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni and his veteran defensive presence are reason enough for GM Mitch Kupchak to strongly consider signing the free agent guard.

A report by Yahoo! NBA writer Adrian Wojnarowski confirms that the Lakers are showing interest in the swingman, who is technically under contract with the Utah Jazz, but both sides are seeking a buyout.

Wojnarowski addressed the sticky situation Bell has encountered in Utah, and why he is currently working out in Miami—hopefully in preparation for an opportunity to return to the league:

When his minutes and role diminished a year ago, Bell began to clash with Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin. Bell started 30 games for the Jazz a year ago, but his minutes steadily decreased over the season. Bell had long been considered a quality perimeter defender and a credible three-point shooter, but several league executives, scouts and coaches wonder how much of that proficiency is still left in his game.

Once Bell finds an offer that makes sense for him, the Jazz will negotiate a clean break. Bell is an exceptional perimeter defender and could bring a vital veteran presence that the Lakers don't currently have on their bench.

There is not one consistently viable perimeter defender on the Lakers' roster that isn't in the starting five, and doesn't have a ridiculously unique name like Kobe or Metta World Peace.

Adding to that list of exotic-sounding names would be Raja, who may not be in his physical prime but would still be an upgrade over anyone L.A. currently has.

Bell also has a feel for D'Antoni's patented "Seven Seconds or Less" offense, and has thrived in it in the past.

In his first two seasons in Phoenix, Bell posted career numbers on the offensive end, averaging 14.7 points per game in both years while shooting well above 40 percent from beyond the arc.

As a career .406 percent shooter from long distance, Bell would also give the quick-triggered style of offense some much needed outside shooting help.

Kobe Bryant isn't going to shoot the deep ball at nearly 42 percent for the entire year. Steve Nash and Steve Blake are the only ones who will be significant contributors when 2012-13 is all said and done—who can shoot from three-point range with any consistency.

Maybe Wednesday's 113-97 loss at Sacramento was just an aberration, but giving up 71 second-half points to a Kings team that looked rather putrid entering the game is unacceptable.

Considering the prior interest both Bryant and Kupchak showed in Bell this past offseason, there's no reason to think that Bell wouldn't be a great fit in Los Angeles.

The only hangup will be maneuvering for salary cap space and meeting Bell's demands.

But if Bell can come play for his old coach and for a shot at his first NBA championship, it's hard to see him being too high maintenance.