(Welcome to the 2013 Lakers Summer free agency guide. Be sure to check out our full archive of player capsules, news, editorials, and more on the Lakers free agency period over here.)
Raja Bell was a name that was consistently linked to the Los Angeles Lakers through the 2012-2013 season. His contract situation with the Utah Jazz was finally solved, but by the time Utah cut him loose he was disqualified from playoff roster eligibility.
The Lakers' expressed interest dates back to November 2012, shortly after Mike D'Antoni had replaced Mike Brown. Updates heated up around the trade deadline. According to sources, the Jazz did not want to release Bell to keep him away from signing with the Lakers.
Bell will be a free agent this Summer. He did not play a single minute in the 2012-2013 season, the last time he participated in a professional basketball game was April 2012, 2012, but his name will likely come up in the Summer at least once.
The most important factor to consider with Bell is that he will certainly fall into the Lakers' price range at the league minimum. For five months the team was linked to having interest with him despite the fact that the last time we saw Bell play for an NBA team Andrew Bynum was still chucking threes while wearing purple and gold. Anything is possible.
Why the Lakers should look at Bell
There aren't any explicit reasons the Lakers should look at Bell aside from the fact that he played with Steve Nash and Mike D'Antoni while with the Phoenix Suns. The Lakers should also be cautious of addding a player who turns 37 next season.
If the Lakers do consider Bell it will likely boil down to one of two things:
1) The Lakers want extra depth because of Kobe Bryant's injury
2) Jodie Meeks' player option isn't picked up.
Meeks has a $1.5 million team option for the 2013-2014 season. If the Lakers decide against bringing Meeks back, they may be razor-thin at shooting guard and could reach for a quick-fix in the meantime. It would be a curious move to cut Meeks in order to make space for Bell to say the least.
The Jazz shooting guard hasn't played a minute with the team this year after a series of disagreements with coach Ty Corbin, despite a $3.84 million dollar salary. At age 36, Bell is far past his prime as a 40% three-point shooter and elite defender and now is apparently a problem in the locker room as well. Still, Bell shot 39% from long last season, a quality that's sure to perk up a D'Antoni-led team's ears.
Bell's 2012-2013 Season
Probably chilling in the Bahamas sipping on daiquiris.
Free Agency Prediction
Barring the Lakers desperately needing a wing (note: they kinda sorta already do desperately need a wing), Bell seems like a tough signing to defend after the season that just happened. L.A. may not be in position to pick and choose their help, however, as they don't have much to offer by way of contracts. Does Bell at the minimum hurt the Lakers? Probably not, but it certainly isn't moving the needle much either, and this team is already living that luxury tax life.
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