Lakers Showing Interest In Raja Bell

November 23 2012 at 6:39pm CDT By Luke Adams

6:39pm: Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles hears the Lakers haven't had any official discussions with Bell yet (Twitter link). 

12:44pm: With Mike D'Antoni now at the helm in Los Angeles, the Lakers are exhibiting interest in a player that used to play for D'Antoni in Phoenix. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports that the Lakers are displaying "renewed interest" in Jazz forward Raja Bell. Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and Kobe Bryant have also been "strong advocates" of Bell this summer, according to Wojnarowski.

Bell, who is in the final year of his contract, was asked not to report to the Jazz this season, and the two sides have made attempts to negotiate a buyout. While a trade would also be a possibility, Bell's $3.48MM salary makes it difficult to find a taker, particularly given Utah's lack of leverage.

Even if the Jazz were to reach a buyout agreement with Bell, there's no guarantee the Lakers would be willing to add him on a minimum salary, according to Wojnarowski. Los Angeles would have to cut a player to clear a spot, then add more salary and a larger tax hit to a roster that's already worth $100MM. Although Wojnarowski suggests the Lakers would have to pay the salary for whichever player they'd cut, it's worth noting that Robert Sacre and Darius Johnson-Odom are on non-guaranteed deals, so the team could save itself some money by releasing one of them.

Regardless, for now, Bell remains under contract with the Jazz. According to Wojnarowski, the Lakers aren't the only team to show some interest in the 36-year-old either — the Bulls have also kicked the tires.

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