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Raja Bell signs with Utah, accepting more money than Lakers could offer

The free agent was supposed to meet with Kobe Bryant but opted instead to take a three-year contract worth a reported $10 million from the Jazz.

July 14, 2010|By Mike Bresnahan

So much for mending fences.

Free-agent guard Raja Bell decided to sign with the Utah Jazz instead of the Lakers, accepting more money than the Lakers could have offered.

Bell, 34, was supposed to meet with longtime adversary Kobe Bryant on Wednesday, but opted instead for a three-year contract worth a reported $10 million from the Jazz.

The most the Lakers could have offered was $1.77 million next season, the remaining amount of their mid-level exception.

The Lakers currently have nine players on their roster, not including two second-round picks who have played well on their summer-league team in Las Vegas — forwards Derrick Caracter and Devin Ebanks.

Bryant and Bell feuded a few years ago, with Bryant even saying he had "bigger fish to fry" than Bell after a feisty encounter in a 2006 game. But Bryant became an advocate for Bell in recent weeks, thinking his toughness and defense would help the Lakers' reserve unit.

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