Los Angeles Lakers

Lakers Rumors: LA Brass Will Regret Not Adding Raja Bell

DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 23:  Guard Raja Bell #19 of the Utah Jazz at American Airlines Center on February 23, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  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 Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Alex KayCorrespondent IMarch 6, 2013

The Los Angeles Lakers apparently had a chance to make a last-second push to nab Raja Bell away from the Utah Jazz, but neglected to seize the opportunity.

According to NBA.com’s David Aldridge, head coach Mike D’Antoni reportedly attempted to sway team brass into opening up the wallets in order to acquire the veteran last Monday.

However, GM Mitch Kupchak and the other decision makers in the front office allegedly shut down the proposal, not wishing to add on more to a payroll that has already surpassed $100 million.

Unfortunately for the Lakers' chances at making the playoffs and winning a title, ownership wasn’t willing to dole out a few more bucks for the 36-year-old shooting guard.

Bell hasn’t seen the floor during the 2012-13 season, but has career averages of 9.9 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.7 assists.

His best years came when he played for D’Antoni as a member of the Phoenix Suns—as a premier perimeter defender, three-point sniper and starting 2 for the run-and-gun squad.

Before Bell and Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin were involved in an altercation that resulted in an irreparable relationship, the 12-year veteran averaged 7.4 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 28.4 minutes in 102 games for the club.

It was clear that Bell was still a capable player, despite his advanced age. He would have been a major asset for the Lakers, especially as the team is trying to make a push into the playoffs.

L.A. is narrowly trailing the Jazz, Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors for one of the attainable postseason seeds in the Western Conference.

A crafty vet like Bell would have been perfect to soak some minutes in the backcourt, and could have made for an ideal insurance policy in case of injury to Jodie Meeks or another reserve guard.

Should the Lakers find themselves in the postseason, Bell could have been a reliable contributor with his long-range accuracy, defensive ferocity and experience.

In 33 playoff appearances under D’Antoni, the 6’5” guard averaged 40.2 minutes, 12.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists. He could play big minutes and hit even bigger shots in crunch time.

Unfortunately, Bell declined Utah’s minimum buyout offer at last Friday night’s deadline, knowing full well that it would have been a challenge to make his way onto L.A.’s roster.

It could be a decision that comes back to haunt them both. 

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