Raja Bell will not accept a buyout of his contract with the Jazz before Friday’s midnight deadline for him to be eligible to sign with another team and play in the postseason, his agent told Bill Oram of the Salt Lake Tribune.
Bell, who is being paid $3.48 million this season, has been away from the team all year since directing unflattering comments at coach Tyrone Corbin at the end of last season. Earlier this week, Jazz Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Kevin O’Connor told a team-owned radio station that the Jazz had offered the minimum buyout to Bell before the season and that “we never heard from him.”
“The framework of the buyout we have had in place all year was premised on us finding an offer in the league,” Rudoy said in a text messsage to The Tribune. “We did not, so Raja is turning down the buyout.”
Lakers fans can breathe a sigh of relief, as Bell was on the team’s radar, thanks to the fondness both Mike D’Antoni and Kobe Bryant have expressed for Bell’s game in the past. But besides the fact that Bell is no longer close to the defensive stopper and high-percentage three-point shooter that he once was, reports had L.A. cooling on the idea in recent days over payroll and luxury tax concerns.
It’s unclear whether or not Bell has anything left; his production has diminished quite a bit in recent seasons, likely due to a combination of injury and age. His temperament isn’t a great fit for … well, anyone at this point, which is why he’s been paid to stay home by the Jazz since the beginning of the season.