Kobe Bryant recruiting one time nemesis Raja Bell to join Lakers

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Thumbnail image for Raja Bell clothesline.jpgYou want to earn Kobe Bryant’s respect? Battle him. Get up for the task and challenge him. Go at him. Compete. Kobe will still win a lot of those battles — because he is Kobe — but he respects the effort.

Raja Bell battled Kobe. In 2006 he taunted Kobe, was physical with him and knocked him down hard. Now Kobe wants him on his side, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.

Kobe Bryant and Raja Bell have been talking and texting and are about to meet face-to-face. The reason is Kobe wants Bell to take the remaining $1.8 million the Lakers have from mid-level exception. This is not new, Kobe has been going after Bell since before the free agency period opened.

Bell is a good fit in the triangle — he knocks down threes (over 40 percent the last six years) and he can defend hard. He can play minutes for the Lakers at the one or the two, spelling Kobe and Derek Fisher. Kobe and Fish’s knees will thank him.

Bell made over $5 million last year and is likely looking at money options. The Miami Heat are actively recruiting him, but they can’t offer any more money than the Lakers. It’s a matter of where Bell feels most comfortable. What he wants.

But Bell is going to find that Kobe can be very persuasive.