It seems that the Los Angeles Lakers don't have bigger fish to fry than Raja Bell of the Utah Jazz.
The Lakers remained quiet on the trade front with less than 24 hours left until tomorrow's 12pm PT trade deadline in regards to big moves. Earlier today, Mitch Kupchak was steadfast on the organization's position on keeping Dwight Howard until the end of the season and beyond. Other than that non-news, there's been very little to report in the way of a major trades. It's expected that if the Lakers make any moves at all, it will be of the smaller variety.
And small variety it seems to be. As Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld reports, the Lakers are closely monitoring what happens with G Raja Bell in Utah. 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.
The Lakers likely wouldn't trade for Bell in this scenario, unless the Jazz were interested in players like Darius Morris, Chris Duhon or Devin Ebanks, none of which really help Utah this year. Moreover, LA infamously has few draft picks to pedal and at this point, even second round selections should be valuable to an organization that's given up five first rounders within the last year.
If anything happens with Bell, it will come through a buyout and subsequent signing with the team. Our compadres over at SLC Dunk have mentioned that Raja isn't likely to take a significant salary hit to leave the Jazz, making this scenario even less likely.
To the point, there's doubt as to if Bell would even crack this depleted Lakers rotation. The back court of Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Steve Blake and Jodie Meeks seems fairly set in stone, and the addition of another slow, defensively challenged 30-something makes little sense. Still, Kobe was on the forefront of trying to recruit Bell two offseasons ago, so any interest the Lakers have in the swingman has a little weight to it.
This is certainly not the juiciest of stories for a team below .500 with preseason championship expectations. But the way things are looking, these small fish are going to be the only types of players the Lakers will be involved with for the next 21 hours.
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