The Jazz have waived Raja Bell, agent Herb Rudoy tells Bill Oram of The Salt Lake Tribune (Twitter link). The move, which had been expected as the team neared an agreement Friday with Travis Leslie, ends a season-long standoff between the Jazz and Bell, who hasn't played a single game this season after the team told him not to come to training camp. Bell will receive his full $3.48MM salary this season, Oram tweets, and that money will remain on Utah's books as long as he clears waivers.
Bell asked for a trade last May after clashing with coach Tyrone Corbin, and he and the team have gone back and forth about the possibility of a buyout for months, reportedly even agreeing on one in July, but Utah never finalized his exit from the team until now. Bell started 33 games at shooting guard for the Jazz last season, but suffered a left knee injury in mid-March and appeared in only one game after his return, playing 18 minutes off the bench in the team's regular-season finale.
The 36-year-old Bell was reportedly telling those close to him last month he'd sign with the Lakers, but that was before the March 1st deadline for players to be waived and still be eligible for the postseason with another team. L.A. could sign Bell and use him in the regular season, but the Lakers are apparently wary of adding more salary that would increase their luxury tax bill. Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni failed in his effort to talk the team into making Bell an offer before March 1st, and without a guarantee he'd find a job with another team, Bell turned down Utah's final buyout offer before the deadline passed.
Rudoy tells Oram that Bell definitely plans to play again (Twitter link), and the Wolves and Bulls have shown interest at various points this season, though it's unclear whether they would want to give him a look now. Bell named the Heat his top choice in the fall, and as Jody Genessy of the Deseret News points out, he has spent the season hanging around Miami, where he attended high school and college. The Heat could open a roster space by electing not to re-up 10-day signee Juwan Howard, but they would have to reciprocate Bell's interest, and there's been no indication that they want to bring him aboard.
One of the reasons Bell remained in limbo for so long is that the Jazz didn't want to give in and reward what the team believed was poor behavior on Bell's part, Oram tweets, so that could scare other teams off. The 12-year veteran averaged his fewest minutes and points per game in nine seasons last year, but he still shot 39.1% from three-point range, just slightly below his 40.6% career mark.