NBA Rumor: Raja Bell to the Heat

By: 06.28.10

Last week, Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Lakers and Raja Bell “will enter free agency with a strong mutual interest to reach agreement on a deal.” This would be a great fit for both teams: Kobe would love to snatch up as many of his antagonists as he could while Bell has said that, at this point in his career, he wants to be in a situation where he could win it all.

But after catching up with Bell at Steve Nash‘s annual Showdown in Chinatown it appears that although Bell has a strong desire to win, he would like to do it on the East Coast — preferably in Miami. Although the Lakers are coming off back-to-back championships, the Heat will certainly be considered contenders once free agency is underway. Bell has expressed his desire to spend more time with his family, who live in Miami, and Bell also seems like a Pat Riley guy.

Dime: I’m sure you know that your name is popping up everywhere. Do you have any preference of where you want to play next year?
Raja Bell: Obviously the later you get in your career you put more of a priority on trying to win that championship. So there’s a big part of me that wants to have the opportunity to play with a team if I could do that. On the other hand, sometimes you can’t control who wants you and who comes with an offer, so I’m open to anything. I’ve been on teams that have tried to rebuild and part of me has always been an underdog, so I relish that opportunity too. We’ll see what presents itself.

Dime: Are there any teams that you are considering in particular?
RB: I’d obviously like to play for a winning team and win something. I got two boys and a wife and our home base is Miami so anywhere up and down this east coast would be a great fit for me.

Dime: Who do you think Miami is going to pick up this offseason?
RB: I don’t know man. I mean obviously the rumors are Bosh and Amar’e, maybe C-Booz, but I’d say Bosh would probably be their first pick and then maybe Amar’e.

Dime: Even after injury, do you think when coming back you will still be a top-tier defensive player?
RB: You know that’s always a subjective thing. I don’t consider myself a “great defender” or anything. I just go out there and do my best. I’ve been healthy for a few months, I’ve been in the gym working out and lifting so my body feels real good.

I don’t think I’ve lost anything with the injury, though. It was my off wrist. I shot the ball well all summer and my legs feel really good and, at 33, it’s not that bad of an idea to have a year off so I feel pretty good.

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