Raja Bell still intrigues Mike D’Antoni as the coach tries to salvage the rest of the 2012-13 Los Angeles Lakers season.
Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski said D’Antoni was still interested months after reports in November indicated he wanted to bring the reserve shooting guard to his new Southern Californian team (via Twitter):
Mike D'Antoni has remained intrigued with bringing exiled Jazz guard Raja Bell to Lakers, sources say.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 19, 2013
Bell, 36, has plenty of experience and success operating in D’Anonti’s fast-paced offensive system. He’s also familiar with point guard Steve Nash, who he would be sharing the backcourt duties with if he does, in fact, head to Los Angeles.
The veteran sharpshooter played in 232 regular-season games for D’Antoni while in Phoenix, recording a 13.8 point-per-game average and hitting a remarkable 41.9 percent of his three-pointers.
The Lakers wouldn’t have to give up too much to get him, either, as Bell is currently under contract with the Utah Jazz but not playing for the team. Utah is also willing to pay the difference of his remaining 2012-13 salary once a team agrees to take him on at the veteran’s minimum salary.
This move may begin to gain steam as the deadline approaches given that the Lakers have one roster spot available after center Jordan Hill went down with an injury.
So, what’s the holdup, Mr. Kupchak? Why is Bell not on the first flight to L.A. and getting fitted for his Gold and Purple?
Would Raja Bell be the catalyst for a Lakers playoff push?
Rekindling old flames rarely works, especially when dealing with a situation as volatile as this season’s Lakers. Might that be one thing keeping this move from going through?
Would he be the missing piece that will send the Lakers on a deep playoff run? No, that’s not something a rusty and aging bench shooter is going to provide for the Lakers. They have far bigger problems than their slumping three-point shooting.
But they do have a roster spot and a definite need for a player, even at Bell’s age, who can walk in and provide a shooting spark off the bench. The current Lakers’ backcourt bench just isn’t getting the job done.
Who knows, maybe he’ll help the Lakers catch fire.
They certainly don’t have much else left to lose this season.