Lakers Rumors: Los Angeles Should Pursue Mickael Pietrus over Raja Bell

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistNovember 24, 2012

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 05:  Mickael Pietrus #28 of the Boston Celtics reacts after he made a 3-point basket against the Miami Heat in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on June 5, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. 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 Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Mickael Pietrus is a better option for the Lakers than Raja Bell.

Much has been made recently about Los Angeles pursuing the Jazz guard with the arrival of Mike D'Antoni. He coached Bell with the Phoenix Suns, where the player was at his peak and an All-NBA defender.

Bell would be a good option, but the Lakers should be going after Pietrus. As Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports reported, the team is weighing whether or not to pursue the French swingman as well.

According to Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk, the biggest stumbling block would be the fact that Pietrus would refuse to settle for the league minimum. It's unlikely the team would be able to budge given financial restrictions they're under.

But if the Lakers are given an opportunity to sign Pietrus, they should take it. Both he and Bell would provide defensive help on the wings and a mid-to-long-range option offensively, so this isn't to say that Bell is a terrible choice.

Bell is a good outside shooter, but he's probably only slightly better. Pietrus has averaged 36 percent from three-point range over his career, compared to Bell's 41 percent. They're both very good perimeter defenders as well.

Pietrus does have a distinct advantage in one category—age. The 30-year-old Frenchman is six years younger than Bell. With a team like the Lakers, you can only rely on so many veterans before it becomes one too many.

He also has had experience playing with Dwight Howard, having spent a little over two years in Orlando, so he and the big man would already have a nice rapport.

Neither of these two are optimal choices. They're unlikely to make the Lakers the best team in the Western Conference.

Los Angeles is hamstrung in who it can go after at this point. Unless the Lakers can offload Pau Gasol, they're not going to get a big name to come in and inject a ton of production from the bench.

Clearly, though, personnel changes need to be made, because what the Lakers have now isn't working. The Steve Nash injury doesn't help matters, but the problems go deeper than that.

Pietrus isn't a great long-term option, but he is a proper stopgap.