Kobe Bryant keeps enemies close, wants Raja Bell to join Lakers

In his continuing evolution as one of the greatest to ever play the sport of basketball, Kobe Bryant is adding a new weapon to his arsenal – forgiveness.

ESPN’s Marc Stein reports that KB24 will have a sit down with Raja Bell in hopes of convincing the free agent to join the Lakers in their quest to threepeat. That would be the same Raja Bell that went WWE on Kobe back when the Suns and Lakers tangled in the first round of the playoffs just four years ago.

That Bryant would be willing to bury the hatchet in the name of winning is nothing new. Kobe had no problem welcoming Ron Artest into the Purple and Gold fold. That would be the same Ron Ron that ran some serious smack and went chest-to-chest with Bryant all in the name of getting into the two time Finals MVP’s head.

Stein’s “sources” cite Kobe’s respect for Bell’s “gumption” as the biggest reason why he’d like to see Raja on the roster.

One source close to the situation said memories of Bell’s takedown, which earned him a suspension for Game 6 of the series — the Suns, down 3-2, won the game at Staples Center without him — are actually one reason why Bryant sees Bell as such an ideal teammate. The premise? Anyone with the gumption to hit Bryant that hard is someone he wants on his team.

While I realize that necessity makes for some strange bed fellows, this is a tough pill to swallow.

Bell is a hard nosed defender with a knockdown jumper from beyond the arc. He’s a perfect fit for the triangle and made a name for himself by defending Kobe in the NBA Finals back in 2001 when Bell was just trying to carve his niche in the league. In short, Raja has much respect as a made man in the game.

Still, it is going to be difficult for fans such as myself to see Bell sporting a Lakers jersey.

Then again, it was pretty tough accepting the fact that Vladimir Radmanovic was actually defending Paul Pierce in the NBA Finals two years ago.

We’ll have more on this after the two have their meet and greet on Wednesday. Until then, I’d suggest all Laker fans get used to the idea of chanting “Raja!” in unison. So far Kobe the GM has convinced Phil Jackson to give it one more go and Derek Fisher to stay put. Given that track record it’s going to be hard for a punk player like Bell to refuse Kobe’s offer.

Tags: Kobe Bryant Raja Bell

  • M

    Raja Bell would really boost the Lakers bench and defense if anything else. He is a Ron Harper kind of guy, he can play hard nose defense and make three point shots. With Bell, Kobe, and Artest this trio would be quite a handful considering perimeter and man-to-man defense not to mention you also have long and talented shot blockers in Pau and Bynum. Bell gives the Lakers a solid bench comprising of himself, Odom, and Blake and his size also allows him to slide over to SF if needed. Kobe understands defense wins championships and Bell was a Defensive 1st team player. Considering playoff basketball where the game slows down and rosters get shorter having a guy like Bell who can defend and make threes is a missing link type player for the Lakers.

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  • CyberCosmiX

    What is it with the Lakers looking at dudes that have a history of antagonizing Kobe this offseason? The other player they were rumored to be looking at, Matt Barnes, also faced off against Kobe in the Magic’s 2 games against the Lakers.

    I happen to like Matt Barnes a little better because although he isn’t the jump-shooter that Bell is, he’s 4 years younger and unlike Raja, has actually expressed a desire to come play in L.A. Raja named 3 different places (New York, Florida or Dallas) and not L.A.? Forget him then.

    Actually, above either of these guys, I’d make an attempt if I were Mitch Kupchak to go after Tracy McGrady. He’s made a ton of money and would be a good fit as backup to Artest and Kobe. Let’s face it, McGrady at 80% is still light years better than Bell or Barnes except maybe at the defensive end. T-Mac is good buddies with Kobe, and Phil wouldn’t have trouble motivating him. THAT would be who I’d look at, T-MAC!!!!!!!

  • Mr. NBA

    The Lakers with Raja Bell are instantly the favorites. There is no way a defenseless Miami Heat team with LeBron James being their head honcho on defense is going to beat the Lakers.

    The Lakers just have maybe 3 years worth of chemistry as far as the core is concerned. Miami will just have to score in bunches if they are to win. I personally believe Raja Bell would solidify and/or guarantee the next trophy to the Lakers.

    • Jay

      look the fakers are done winning titles. miami on da map once again. and i think bell is going to go to the heat. lakers suck donkey balls

      • Sebaz

        Jay is Gay

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