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Utah Jazz executive talks Raja Bell and the Lakers

February 26, 2013|By Eric Pincus
  • George Frey / EPA
George Frey / EPA (lywomvpd20120204224606/600/478x600 )

The Lakers have been linked to Raja Bell since before he signed with the Utah Jazz in 2010.  Kobe Bryant tried to recruit Bell for the Lakers but the Jazz offered him a lucrative contract.

Bell's relationship with Utah soured after two seasons. Now, in the final year of his deal, Bell has spent the entire season away from the team after both sides agreed to part ways. He's still under contract with the Jazz but has been inactive.

Jazz Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Kevin O'Connor spoke on 1280-AM "The Zone" about Bell on Monday.

"We'll be willing to look at a buyout. We're not just going to let him walk away. We're paying him money," said O'Connor, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy recently reported that Bell "has been telling players and friends around the league that he'll join the Lakers."

O'Connor isn't so sure -- unless Bell is willing to take a sizable buyout.

"He can't get all the money from us and then go make more with the Lakers," said O'Connor.  "Oh, thank you. I'd get fired for that. I'd fire me for that."

Though O'Connor suggested he might be reluctant to let Bell out of his contract if it would help the Lakers, ultimately O'Connor said it's more about economics.

"We've said it from the start: All we want is a minimum buyout," he said. "We never heard from him. He never said yes to it. We would have done it right away."

The Lakers have one roster spot available but haven't suggested they'd be interested in signing Bell if available. The 36-year old guard used to play for Coach Mike D'Antoni alongside Steve Nash with the Phoenix Suns, but Bell hasn't played a game all season.

If the Jazz and Bell do arrange a buyout, it needs to be completed by the March 1 deadline -- otherwise Bell won't be eligible to play for in the postseason for another franchise.

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Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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