Raja Bell

And-Ones: Langdon, Wizards, Fournier

The Cavaliers will hire Spurs scout Trajan Langdon as their Director of Player Administration, sources told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). He will replace Raja Bell, who is leaving to spend more time with his family, Wojnarowski adds. The change was confirmed by Chris Haynes of Northeast Ohio Media Group, who spoke to Bell. “I had so much fun with those boys and the Cavaliers’ organization, but it was just time to be with my family,” said Bell, who served in that role for one season. “It was the right thing to do right now, but I definitely enjoyed my time there.”

In other news around the league:

  • Wizards owner Ted Leonsis had reached a tentative deal with Washington, D.C. mayor Muriel E. Bowser to build a $56.3MM practice facility, Jonathan O’Connell of the Washington Post reports. Officials said the city plans to construct and own the facility, which will also include an arena for the WNBA Washington Mystics, while Leonsis would contribute $10MM to aid the surrounding neighborhood, O’Connell continues. Leonsis has been pushing for a state-of-the-art venue to replace the existing practice facility at the Verizon Center in order to attract high-profile free agents next summer, including Kevin Durant, who grew up in nearby Prince George’s County, O’Connell adds.
  • Suns forward Markieff Morris and his brother, Pistons forward Marcus Morris, have a court appearance scheduled for Wednesday in Phoenix, Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic tweets. They face felony aggravated assault charges for their alleged roles in a January brawl at a Phoenix recreation center. The duo would be suspended a minimum of 10 games if they are found guilty of a felony and could also face a suspension if they’re guilty of a misdemeanor, former NBA executive Bobby Marks tweets.
  • Magic swingman Evan Fournier could have competition for minutes and a sixth-man role this season from rookie Mario Hezonja, Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel reports. Both have similar skills, though playing them together on the second unit is intriguing because it could give Orlando some second-unit firepower, Schmitz continues. Fournier needs to improve defensively and increase his strength to get more playing time, Schmitz adds. He is eligible for an extension until the start of the regular season, and we recently examined his chances of getting it in our Extension Candidate series.

Raja Bell Announces NBA Retirement

After 12 NBA seasons and 774 combined regular-season and playoff games, Raja Bell has decided to officially retire from the league. Bell told Talkin Hoopz of his retirement in an exclusive interview.

At 37, Bell hasn’t played a game since the 2011/12 season with the Jazz. He had a falling out with coach Tyrone Corbin after that season, and the team eventually waived him after a lengthy standoff in the 2012/13 season. Bell had talked and worked out for NBA teams up through last offseason, but never landed another contract. While he was still looking for late season work last year, he says he’s past the point, physically, of answering the call.

“Earlier this year I shut it down. I’m 37, I have three boys, I do miss it, but physically it wasn’t realistic for me to keep training and keep putting my body through what I’ve been putting it through for the last 20 years,” Bell told Talkin Hoopz. “I’m enjoying retirement, and trying to find out what the next chapter is going to hold for me.”

Bell built a reputation as a great defender over a career that started as an undrafted free agent with the Sixers in 2000/01. Bell scored just shy of 7,000 points in his career for an average of 9.9 PPG, and was a career .406 shooter from three point range. His best years came with the Suns from 2005-2008, where he was named to the NBA All-Defensive First and Second Teams in consecutive years, while playing a major part in perennial playoff runs in Phoenix. Bell also spent time with the Mavericks, Bobcats, and Warriors.

According to Basketball-Reference, Bell earned approximately $36.6MM over the course of his NBA career.

Odds & Ends: Kleiza, Iguodala, Dooling, Knicks

Let's round up a few Friday odds and ends from around the Association….

  • After being amnestied by the Raptors, Linas Kleiza is drawing interest from several European teams, including CSKA Moscow, writes Emiliano Carchia of Sportando, passing along a report from Djordje Matic.
  • Sam Amick of USA Today spoke to Andre Iguodala about his free agency, and some drama along the way related to the Kings and Nuggets.
  • Keyon Dooling is receiving "serious interest" from two teams and will likely decide next week where he'll sign, tweets Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld, who adds that a reunion with the Grizzlies is unlikely.
  • There's nothing new on the Raja Bell front, tweets Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com, noting that the Knicks no longer have any interest in Bell after signing Metta World Peace. The Knicks remain in the market for a point guard and a big man though, says Zwerling.
  • Tom Ziller of SBNation.com explains why he finds it unusual that the NBA decided to compensate the Thunder for a portion of Kevin Durant's contract.
  • Multiple teams have inquired on undrafted free agent Khalif Wyatt, according to agent Stephen Pina. Wyatt played for the Sixers' Summer League squad in Orlando, but hasn't talked to Philadelphia yet about a more permanent contract (Twitter links via Tom Moore of PhillyBurbs.com).

Knicks Rumors: Martin, Robinson, Jordan, Tyler

It sounds like the Knicks will fall short of landing Samuel Dalembert, who's close to a deal with the Mavs. As Knicks GM Glen Grunwald and company search for free agent help, they're limited to handing out no more than the $1.7MM portion of their mini mid-level exception that remains after the team used part of it to re-sign Pablo Prigioni. Still, the team has plenty of targets, as we detail:

Odds & Ends: Assistants, SVG, Brewer, Lakers

As teams continue to finalize their coaching staffs for the 2013/14 season, a pair of clubs made official announcements today. The Kings have formally hired Dee Brown and Micah Nori, who spent the last four seasons as an assistant in Toronto, while the Raptors have made a hire of their own, announcing that Nick Nurse, coming off a D-League championship, will join Dwane Casey's staff.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the Association:

  • Former Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy tells Chris Tomasson of FOX Sports Florida that it's "very possible" he won't return to an NBA bench for the 2014/15 season, adding that there's no guarantee he'll ever coach again. Tomasson's piece includes plenty of interesting tidbits and quotes from Van Gundy, including word that four teams contacted him in the spring about coaching vacancies.
  • We passed along reports today indicating that the Timberwolves are eyeing Corey Brewer, and Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune adds another detail, writing that Minnesota is exploring its options for a potential sign-and-trade deal with the Nuggets.
  • Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com hears that Raja Bell, Kenyon Martin, and Bobby Brown are among the free agents with interest in the Lakers, though it's not clear if that interest is mutual (Twitter link).
  • In his latest mailbag, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel addresses whether or not it makes sense for the Heat to save their amnesty clause until next year.
  • Before they decide whether or not to use their amnesty provision this year, the Raptors will wait to see exactly what the luxury tax threshold is, tweets Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun.
  • Grantland's Zach Lowe takes an extended and interesting look at how the Pelicans' offseason moves will shape the team going forward.

Odds & Ends: Bell, Billups, Datome, Grizzlies

Knicks coach Mike Woodson is trying to convince Chauncey Billups to rejoin the club, sources tell Frank Isola of the New York Daily News (on Twitter).  However, the veteran is unlikely to accept a minimum deal.  The Knicks saw another one-guard target come off the board tonight when the Pistons agreed to a deal with Will Bynum.  Here's tonight's look around the Association..

  • Raja Bell worked out for the Knicks today and stood out to the point where he could receive consideration for a roster spot, a league source told Shams Charania of RealGM.  Bell, who sat out all of last year, shot well and outplayed New York’s incoming rookies in one-on-one drills.
  • Although an overseas report over the weekend suggested that the Grizzlies had made Italian forward Gigi Datome a contract offer, Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal says the two sides aren't close to a deal. Datome doesn't seem inclined to accept a one-year offer with his potential playing time in question, according to Tillery, who adds that he expects the Grizz to sign someone like Anthony Morrow (Twitter links).
  • After checking in with the T'Wolves, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (via Twitter) gets the sense that Metta World Peace isn't a fit in Minnesota.  There's one caveat, however – Rick Adelman has yet to chime in and could conceivably fight for him.  But right now, there's no interest there.
  • The representatives for free agent center Jason Collins have only had preliminary discussions with teams, a source tells Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter).  It's still early for the reserve center market and Collins probably has to wait for the bigger fish to sign before he can.
  • C.J. Leslie's deal with the Knicks will be partially guaranteed until January 7th, even if he is cut or waived before that date and will be fully guaranteed after that date, tweets Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com.  New York signed the N.C. State product as an undrafted free agent.  He was widely regarded as a mid-second round talent prior to draft night.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Odds & Ends: LeBron, Raja Bell, Wall, Draft

Here are a few Wednesday afternoon odds and ends from around the Association:

  • Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com takes an extensive look at the decision that will face LeBron James, along with the teams that hope to sign him, in the summer of 2014. While Windhorst suggests that the Heat, Cavaliers, Lakers, and Bulls are among the clubs that could be in the mix for LeBron in '14, he stresses that the former MVP himself has yet to make any decisions about whether he'll even opt out of his contract with Miami.
  • If the Cavs hope to recruit James or any other major free agent in the summer of 2014, they'll need to put a more competitive product on the court in 2013/14, says Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio.
  • Despite not being playoff-eligible, Raja Bell has continued to search for an NBA job, according to Shams Charania of RealGM.com (via Twitter). However, nothing has developed, and Bell appears likely to sit out the entire season.
  • John Wall continues to tell reporters that he feels he's worthy of a maximum contract, with Michael Lee of the Washington Post the latest scribe to get a quote from Wall on the subject. The Wizards point guard tells Lee he'd be disappointed if he can't work something out with the team before the 2013/14 season gets underway.
  • When we asked last night whether Wall deserves a max deal, the response was an overwhelming no. Lee's readers at the Washington Post agree, as their responses indicate.
  • ESPN.com's Chad Ford answers plenty of draft questions in his latest chat, noting that the situation at Kentucky will be very interesting to watch. Top recruit Julius Randle announced today that he'll become a Wildcat, and three current freshman suggested yesterday that they're leaning toward returning to Kentucky for their sophomore years.
  • The NBA has hired former Nuggets and Nets GM Kiki Vandeweghe as its vice president of basketball operations, the league announced today. Vandeweghe will report to executive VP of basketball ops Stu Jackson.

Stein’s Latest: Ibaka, Mavs, Bobby Brown, Raja Bell

After indulging in his love of soccer to make a cross-sport comparison of LeBron James and Lionel Messi, Marc Stein of ESPN.com delivers his usual assortment of juicy NBA rumors from around the league as part of his Weekend Dime. Here are the highlights:

  • One NBA GM believes Serge Ibaka would have been worth a maximum-salary contract had he not signed a $49.4MM extension with the Thunder this past offseason. I took an early look this evening at some of this summer's rookie-scale extension candidates.
  • The Mavs recently tried to free former NBA point guard Bobby Brown from his deal with Italian club Montepaschi Siena, but the potential buyout would have been too costly. Several teams have interest in Brown, 28, who's expected to return to the NBA next season. He's averaging 17.7 points and 4.4 assists this season in Italy.
  • Raja Bell confirms, as we've heard, that he would have taken a buyout from the Jazz before the March 1st playoff eligibility deadline if he had an offer from another team already lined up, and that the Lakers' concerns about the luxury tax have precluded L.A. from signing him. He also said he's open to joining a team this season even though he wouldn't be eligible for the playoffs.
  • Had the Nets held on to their first-round draft pick last year instead of trading it away in the Gerald Wallace deal, they likely would have passed on presumptive Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard in favor of Tyler Zeller, since they figured incumbent point guard Deron Williams would re-sign. 
  • Stein takes the Bulls to task for not making it clear that they're OK with Derrick Rose if he doesn't come back this season. Rose is angry that the perception that he's the only one holding up his return has been allowed to build. A source tells Aggrey Sam of CSNChicago.com that "a lot of people have to sign off" before he could come back.

Odds & Ends: Blatche, Suns, Wolves, Cavs, Lillard

Without Bird or even Early Bird rights, The Nets could be in a tricky situation if they want to re-sign Andray Blatche, whom Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors ranked among the best one-year contract signings this season. Blatche indicated to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News that he might make it easy on Brooklyn, since he'll still be drawing paychecks from his amnestied contract with the Wizards"I’m very aware (of my unique situation)," Blatche said. "That’s what I’m saying. Everybody is probably thinking I’m looking to get that big check. I’m not. Not at all. I’m looking at what’s best for me."

Here's more from around the league on the one-year anniversary of the 2012 trade deadline:

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Jazz Waive Raja Bell

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.