NBA Rumors: Latest Hardwood Buzz on Derek Fisher, Raja Bell and Others

Josh BenjaminCorrespondent IFebruary 24, 2013

Jan 29, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Derek Fisher (2) against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center. The Lakers defeated the Timberwolves 106-101. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Even after the NBA trade deadline, the rumor mill remains busy thanks to the waiver wire. Teams that did not make deals still have holes to fill, and 10-day contracts could be the answer, especially now that basketball season in China is over and some NBA ex-pats may be looking for work back home.

The Boston Celtics are one of these teams, as they still have a gaping hole in their interior defense. One player who did make an impact in China this year is on their radar, and it could only be a matter of time until he is signed to a contract.

The Los Angeles Lakers are also expected to be busy. With Pau Gasol injured, the team has many avenues it could pursue. One that team management is entertaining involves a player who would be welcomed with open arms, but another is a bit iffy.

There's plenty of buzz to cover, so let's dive right in and get to it.


Celtics Close to Signing D.J. White

With Kevin Garnett slowing down with age and Jared Sullinger out for the season due to back surgery, the Celtics need a lot of help in the interior defense department. Nothing against Brandon Bass, but he's slow on his feet and not the threatening presence Boston needs.

Help could soon be on the way. According to Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston, head coach Doc Rivers has stated that big man D.J. White could join the team "soon."

White spent the first five years of his career as a backup big man for the Oklahoma City Thunder and Charlotte Bobcats and has averaged 6.3 points and 3.4 rebounds over 16.3 minutes per game. Per 36 minutes, he has posted 14 points and 7.5 rebounds.

The former Hoosier was unable to find a contract last offseason and chose to play in China, ultimately being signed by the Shanghai Sharks. In 32 games for them, White averaged 21.6 points and 9.7 rebounds per game.

He isn't exactly an ideal signing in Boston, but he has enough size at 6'9", 251 pounds to make an impact. Boston fans should not expect much from him, but just enough to help Boston keep pace.


Lakers Pursuing Raja Bell

The Lakers' greatest need is in the low post, but the team does not appear to be pursuing options there. According to Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld, Los Angeles is interested in signing 36-year-old shooting guard Raja Bell if he reaches a buyout agreement with the Utah Jazz.

Due to a dispute with head coach Tyrone Corbin, Bell has not played at all this season and has been away from the Jazz. Instead, he has remained in his home town of Miami, working out to stay in game shape.

At first glance, Bell does seem like a good fit for the Lakers in that he is a 41-percent career three-point shooter and spent three years playing for head coach Mike D'Antoni in Phoenix. He is also a decent on-ball defender.

Just the same, the Lakers should not sign Bell.

At 6'5", 204 pounds, he does not have the low post presence nor the interior defensive skills that the team needs until Pau Gasol returns from his foot injury. Bringing Bell aboard may seem like a good idea but would really just be a case of the team trying desperately to get D'Antoni's system to work.


Derek Fisher Heading to Los Angeles?

Alex Kennedy also notes that the Lakers could pursue another free agent, one that has a long and storied history with the team. Veteran point guard Derek Fisher is without a team following a brief stint with the Dallas Mavericks this season and is looking for a new team.

He and Kobe Bryant kept in touch following Fisher being traded to the Houston Rockets last season, so a reunion could definitely be in the works. 

If that came to be, the Lakers could almost certainly improve. The 38-year-old Fisher's skills are definitely on the decline, but he has twelve-and-a-half seasons with the Lakers under his belt, plus five championships.

The veteran of the Phil Jackson years could definitely provide some balance in the locker room, not to mention bring a knack for clutch shooting. How much playing time he would get remains to be seen, but having Fisher in a Lakers uniform for a third stint is always a good idea.