Lakers Rumors: LA Must Sign Raja Bell at All Costs If Veteran Guard Is Released

The Los Angeles Lakers stayed true to their word and avoided making any moves at the NBA trade deadline on Thursday, but that doesn't mean they are done adding pieces to the roster just yet.

One of those pieces—exiled Utah Jazz guard Raja Ball—is a must-add if released by his current team anytime in the next week or so.

According to Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld, the Lakers are keeping a close eye on Bell's situation as the Jazz make a decision about keeping him on the roster for the remainder of the 2012-13 season.

While the Lakers remain hopeful that Bell will hit the free-agent pool soon, Jody Genessy reports that Bell's agent doesn't exactly sound emphatic that something will get done:

Kennedy had a full report on Bell's availability on Wednesday, noting his offseason criticism of head coach Tyrone Corbin and inability to come to terms on a buyout:

Over the offseason, Bell was highly critical of Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin, which upset many people within the organization. Prior to training camp, Bell was told to stay away from the team. The two sides tried to negotiate a buyout earlier in the season, but could not reach an agreement.

Not only does Bell have a prior relationship with new Lakers starting point guard Steve Nash, he's also a former proponent of Mike D'Antoni's offense in Phoenix. Although he and Kobe Bryant have a past history that isn't fully cordial (see 2006 playoffs), that won't be a reason for Bell not to come to town.

Bryant and Bell reportedly met in July 2010 (via ESPN) when Bell was last a free agent. Bryant knew that Bell would be a valuable asset to the team, bringing both defense and another veteran presence who can weather the storms of a playoff run.

The same rings true today.

The only issues that surround Bell joining the team now appear to be a buyout and the Lakers' cap space.
Article Source: Bleacher Report - Los Angeles Lakers