Lakers Now

Round-the-Clock Purple and Gold

« Previous Post | Lakers Now Home | Next Post »

Kobe Bryant's apparent endorsement of possible Raja Bell acquisition speaks to his competitiveness

29427188

A season after Ron Artest stormed cross court to get in Kobe Bryant's face during the 2009 NBA playoffs, Bryant welcomed his arrival in L.A. with open arms. Four seasons after Raja Bell clotheslined him in a Lakers' playoff game against the Phoenix Suns, Bryant apparently is doing the same thing.

Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski recently reported that both the Lakers and Bell share a "strong mutual interest to reach agreement on a deal," with Bryant being what Wojnarowski described as a "strong advocate" for a deal to happen. For those wondering how Bryant can go from enemy to friend in a heartbeat simply don't understand that he views adversaries and teammates simply in the context of basketball. It's fair to say Bryant doesn't have many friends in the game within his inner circle, although he created bonds with several teammates in the 2008 Olympics. It's also fair to say that even if Bryant feels personal satisfaction in dominating opponents, that animosity quickly dies once the game ends and if they wind up becoming his teammate.

That's why in addition to Bell's defensive toughness and effective outside shooting, Bryant's endorsement of Bell means the Lakers would highly benefit from his presence. Bryant likes a player if he believes their work ethic is solid and they have good intentions in helping the team. Even when Artest went through his struggles last season in shooting and understanding the triangle offense, for example, Bryant forever praised him because of his solid defense and willingness to play hard every game.

"There's been times where I've been on the road where I couldn't sleep and I'd go to the gym and work out at 12 o'clock at night and Ron's in there," Bryant said during his exit interview. "He's working there and we get a chance to talk about the season and the commitment to winning. I think that's where bonds are forged."

That same bond can happen with Bell. The Times' Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner recently reported that with the Lakers' recently agreeing to terms with Steve Blake, the team has under $2 million left on the mid-level exception, so it remains financially unclear if acquiring Bell is feasible. If that were to happen, however,  the inevitable storyline would involve Bell's clothesline on Bryant in Game 5 of the 2006 NBA playoffs, and whether the two have patched things up since then.

But the clear answer seems to be that the two have moved beyond the war of words they had during that series, with Bell accusing Bryant of continually hitting him in the face and Bryant describing Bell as a "kid" even though Bell is older than Bryant. Instead, Bryant would talk about how the acquisition would help improve the team's toughness and bolster the team's backcourt that would feature Derek Fisher's experience and leadership, Blake's solid point-guard skills and Bell's effective outside shooting. Meanwhile, Bell would express giddiness over playing with Bryant instead of defending him as well as gratitude after the Warriors waived him last season after he opted to have season-ending surgery on his injured wrist.

I spoke to Artest earlier in the playoffs about what the transformation was like for him to go from defending Bryant to becoming his teammate. He likened it to suddenly becoming involved in a television show he was just watching. And if the Bell signing happened, the same transformation would take place, creating a show Bryant, Bell and Lakers fans alike would all want to witness.

Photo: The Lakers have reported interest in free agent guard Raja Bell. Credit: Robert Gauthier/LAT.

 
Comments () | Archives (130)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Allnet,

Thanks for that info, very informative. I thought the luxury threshold was raised to 75M, so it is still 70M so more taxes are in the horizon for JB. Currently, the salaries are already 81M for 7 players w/o blake, ebanks and caracter.

Fatty,

I'm still laughing on your post. lol! That could be part of the Nike commercil with the nike logo at the floating potty.

ALLNET

"An ESPN LBJ special? Then I think LeBron ought to hold his own NBA lottery: 6 ping-pong balls bouncing in a drum – each labeled with one of the contending teams – to be drawn one by one, with the last drawn to be the winner. Would be priceless to watch the camera close-ups on the faces of the various GMs as he works his way down to the final ball."

GENIUS!!

MM I'd like to officially propose this as #1 POST OF THE DAY!!! This is hilarious!!! Although, in all honesty, it is probably a tie with FATTY's !!!!

Can we have 2 #1's POST OF THE DAY???

GOOOOOOOOLAKERS!!!!!

Like your style Mike-GMan. That is "The Word". The big question will be DFish.
Word is Lakers will sign him with a back end financial agreement when he retires in 2 years and will continue to be part of the Lakers organization . I find it interesting that Kobe is pushing for Raja Bell to play with the Lakers. He is an outstanding offensive and defensive player that can help Kobe and DFish play the fast and young guards in the NBA for a good price. Steve Blake will add another dimension to the triangle and defense. Don't forget how Kobe had to pick-up DFish's man during the OK playoffs. This will help reduce the last
minutes heroics if both 1st and 2nd team do their jobs. I was totally frustrated
with the Laker bench. Made games harder to win then they had to. Glad Farmar is out. Hope they can sign Shannon Brown. Kurt Thomas would be a nice pick-up.

I think Vic the Brick just peed on himself.

So are the Lakers still interested in Tony Allen? Would any one of you buy Allen Iverson if he came to you? Chumpchange and off the bench? Your thoughts..

Basketball is not just speed, we have seen that with OKC, The Celts were old but they beat the Cavs and the Magic...what I am saying is, if the Lakers will able to sign Raja Bell that's great news, this guy is far better than Shannon who is one dimensional player. Raja can shoot the 3 and play excellent defense and Kobe knows that. Are we getting old with this acquisition? Nope, we are getting ready for the grand battle ahead of us and we are signing a seasoned soldier. Kindly sign Fish Mitch then get JJ Reddick...3 peat here we go!!!

Basketball is not just speed, we have seen that with OKC, The Celts were old but they beat the Cavs and the Magic...what I am saying is, if the Lakers will able to sign Raja Bell that's great news, this guy is far better than Shannon who is one dimensional player. Raja can shoot the 3 and play excellent defense and Kobe knows that. Are we getting old with this acquisition? Nope, we are getting ready for the grand battle ahead of us and we are signing a seasoned soldier. Kindly sign Fish Mitch then get JJ Reddick...3 peat here we go!!!

What happened to Mike T. (Teniente)? He predicted Boston would beat the Lakers in 6, and then he goes MIA? What a big WUS!

KOBE IS A CLASS ACT. RON ARTEST AND RAJA BELL IN THE PAST HAS PROVEN TO BE A THORN IN HIS SIDE AND THAT CLOTHE LINE PLAY MOST PLAYERS WOULD HAVE FOUGHT RAJA BELL AND IF NOT. DEFINITELY WOULDN'T EVER WANT HIM ON THEIR TEAM. MR. BYANT, KOBE IS DIFFERENT THAT'S WHY HE WILL ALWAYS BE MY MVP. MOST VALIANT PERSON. PSALMS 40

Mitch Kupchak, Phil Jackson, Jerry Buss, knowing how to develop and run championship teams and win titles: Awesome.

Armchair bozos giving them advice in the "comments" column: Priceless

speaks to this..speaks to that...showcases...highlights....dang Mark...learn a new phrase or two...

Why is anyone surprised that Kobe welcomes Raja?
Kobe loves basketball players who are as competitive as he is. He respects opponent who stands up to him and does not give him an inch during a game. That's why he loves Derek Fisher. That's why he wanted Ron Artest last year. That's why he wants Raja Bell now.

Mark Medina ,

Btw, I like your work...the content is great....the writing itself..not so much.......minor quibbles...I know sports journalism isn't about florid prose or but you really do need to improve your writing....I can point out some specific problems and be more constructive in my critique if you please...thanks

Sara

Lakers backcourt just keeps getting older as competition gets younger: Fish 36, Kobe 31, Blake 30, Bell 34. Hopefully the draft picks in frontcourt are keepers because Lakers seem to be letting the young backcourt like Farmar, Brown walk. Lakers suddenly have become an 'old' team with exception of Bynum and rookies if they make the team.

best options waive walton, move LO & sasha and couple of draft picks as a trade bait for bosh, re-sign d-fish for 8m 2 years, offer t-mac the remaining 1.8m, offer walton's value to bell or miller. perpect solution for the 3peat or 4peat, 5peat and so on...

Anyone heard about the status of Andrew Bynum's surgery? Is it scheduled? I would hope that he wouldn't delay it at all so that he would have time to get the knee in shape for next season.

Steve - Andrew Bynum said during his exit interview that he plans to have surgery on July 18. That's not a definitive date, but he planned to have it around that time.

MM

sara - Tell me what is it you don't like?

MM

My personal disdain for Raja Bell notwithstanding, I think he is too old and too washed up to be joining the Lakers. Unless we can get him for the rest of the mid-level exception, it would not be worth it to add someone that old to an already aging team. As it stands now, Andrew, Luke, and Sasha are the only players on the team who are under 30! And between them, they will probably only play 30 minutes a game! That is an old team. Raja is not going to come off the bench and provide that youthful high flying energy that a Shannon Brown did. He might be able to hit a three every now and then when Kobe passes it to him, but that's about it. The Warriors waved him for a reason folks.

i Think the lakers should add Raja bell, they also should trade Luke walton for Tracy Mcgrady i think walton has been doing nothing for the lakers. walton getting paid for 8 mil a year? thats a waste of money.i think he's too slow and his shooting sucks. i wish the lakers have this roster this coming season..

G-fisher-Blake-Iverson
SG-Kobe-Raja-Shannon
SF-Artest-T-Mac
Ff-Pau-Ebanks-OdoM
C-Bynum-Caracter

Keep -powell

trade-Sasha-Walton-Morrison-Mbenga Out-Farmar

i Think the lakers should add Raja bell, they also should trade Luke walton for Tracy Mcgrady i think walton has been doing nothing for the lakers. walton getting paid for 8 mil a year? thats a waste of money.i think he's too slow and his shooting sucks. i wish the lakers have this roster this coming season..

G-fisher-Blake-Iverson
SG-Kobe-Raja-Shannon
SF-Artest-T-Mac
Ff-Pau-Ebanks-OdoM
C-Bynum-Caracter

Keep -powell

trade-Sasha-Walton-Morrison-Mbenga Out-Farmar

Lakers needs another player who can create own shot. Last season the Lakers often confused and nobody seemed to take the shots when Kobe was on the bench. The Lakers certainly needs a solid defender and I concur with Bell. Blake a blue collar point guard, thanks Mitch. This means Fisher does not have to play long minutes. Just watch his 3 pointers climb up to 50%.

I'm loving Raja Bell and Blake. Next years team will be a big improvement over this years. Consider that maybe Bynum will be 100% and healthy all year and Kobe with some rest and rehab will be back to normal. Sasha may still find his stroke and with a year in the triangle and a championship under his belt he will get better. What we are seeing now though is very un-Jerry Buss like moves. Giving up youth for vets, but Buss is getting older and my guess is that he is still willing to spend what it takes to maximize the championship potential of this team.

I can't believe that Phil would have come back for another run unless he was assured that the players would be there. Especially since there will be at least one serious contender from the east next year, and maybe 3 or 4. So much the better to cement the legacy. A legitimate championship caliber opponent is something that Jordan never faced and that will forever tarnish his 6 championships. And don't forget that equaling and surpassing Boston in total championships is the last record standing.

Looks like Wade, Bosh and LBJ may have to wait a few more years for their rings. Especially since any team that scores two of them isn't going to have much else to work with. Lakers fans know that even Shaq and Kobe couldn't do it alone and signing both to super max contracts doesn't leave much to fill out a championship team. LBJ and Bosh to the Bulls could win with their roster but not if Bosh demands a sign and trade that hollows out the rest of the team.

I see a low mileage Gasol having a long Kareem like career because for a 7 footer he doesn't carry the weight like Shaq and Bynum, if he cuts back his play with Spain, same with Lamar because he's not playing huge minutes. Kobe you never know but I'd say that even a step slower at 36, 37, 38 he will be a very dangerous player if healthy. He proved that in game 7.

The key now and in the future is the same as it was in this championship run, it's is Bynum healthy. If he is then all is good for a very long time. Bynum at full strength and Boston loses in 5 or 6. A hobbled Bynum and Boston wins, unless Perkins also can't play.

If anyone thinks that we are going to draft high impact yound players while dealing with very low draft picks, they just don't understand the system.
We have the best team again to start the new season, and yes we are one of the older teams, but we are one of the most experienced and talented as well.

As for the possiblity of acquring Bell, I say it's an excellent pickup. We need someone off the bench who can shoot the 3 and defend perimeter guys. Yes, he's a little long in the tooth, but again, we are not going to sign any of the top young swingmen out there with our balooning budget.

With the salary cap increasing to 2 mil for the 2010-11 season, the Lakers can now sign a player for almost 4 mil. Can anyone suggest who the Lakers should sign.

The Lakers have a window, and it's all based on Kobe, that's why they're building a team of players 29-31 years old, except Bynum.....There was once a player named Michael Jordan, championships were won mainly because of him. It's a similar situation with Kobe, grab all the hardware while we have the crucial piece. His play, his leadership, his motivation, his lead by example style, his work ethic.Yes this is out of the ordinary, but how often does a player such as those two come along. Let's saw twice. So the building of your team at the same time as competing to win in the present, well, that program is on hold, it's all about Kobe's window, which he shares with his peer age players on the Lakers....maybe down the road, after this year's roster is solidified then thoughts of the future can resume, but I believe that the 4-5 year window is the top thing on the team's mind. Even to the point of money. Signing this core was not cheap, alot of the dollars are actually 2 dollars, that's why the hesitation on Fisher, because a $10 million dollar contract would be $20 million, for those "moments" that will go down in history, IF they are going to happen. Personally, I would love to see Fisher back, heading toward a career in coaching (so his gravy train doesn't end when he hangs up his jersey", I would love to see Mike Miller (that you tube clip of him shooting 3's is breathtaking, and I would love to see Matt Barnes over Raja Bell. Miller will definitely spread the floor, whereas if Bell is off for the night he's off for the whole night. Defense, we should be fine, we made it thru last year with half a Bynum, and half an Artest (acclimating), I want Shannon back with humility. Yes his dunks are the best in the league, and his game is improving, but to ride this train, you are not going to have the best seat for a while, your time and money will come, don't be an Ariza for the money, or a Farmar for the fame....you are a role player, play it well, and you will be compensated when possible. M'Benga, I'd take him if Phil would play him, Morrison, consider Europe for a few years.....
Please let me see that roster....yes Miller will have to basically play for squat but think about it, you can be on the "Cream" Team, as in the Lakers with your skills will cream everyone, even the Holy Trinity of Miami, they are 3 great players, the Lakers have great players but they are a TEAM!!!!!

I really think if the Lakers would offer a guaranteed assistant coaching job, Fisher will return next season. I'm sure he's thinking of a new career after basketball and to become a head coach someday would be a pefect fit for him. Lakers and the Fans, what do you think?

@Jon K.

Hey Jon I agree with you 100%....if Kobe wants it so do I!!!!!

It's ALL about the rings!!!!!!

I hope the Lakers sign a perimeter defender to deal with the combination of LeBron and Wade, so Kobe won't have to defend one of them and collect fouls. Ron-ron can only defend one at a time. Lamar can't defend either of them.

Lakers need to sign Raja before Miami doe's. Miami already Mike Miller and are now trying to land D-Fish.

 
« | 1 2

Connect

Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Video

All Things Lakers »

Your database for all things purple and gold.

Find a Laker

Search a name

Select a season

Choose one of our lists



Categories


Archives
 

About the Bloggers


Bleacher Report | Lakers

Reader contributions from Times partner Bleacher Report

More Lakers on Bleacher Report »



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists:


In Case You Missed It...