Utah’s Raja Bell was never used in the Jazz’s first-round playoff series with San Antonio this spring, a fact he said grew from coach Tyrone Corbin making punishment “personal” against him. Why the two were at odds in the first place never was made public, but the falling out was anything but limited to the Jazz offices. Bell’s statement on Corbin is not something many — anyone, really — would say with a year left on a contract, but Bell used the mutual misgivings to secure a buyout in early July. Problem solved? No.
Bell, the Salt Lake Tribune reported today, hasn’t signed the deal that is now 23 days old. At the time of the announced buyout, he had reported mutual interest in the Lakers, Heat and Celtics. Here’s what he said on July 8:
“We typically play it pretty close to the vest. [Agent] Herb [Rudoy] and I are pretty private,” Bell said. “But, in essence, [I’m] pretty much a free agent. I don’t think the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed. But we’ve been given the greenlight by Utah to go ahead and find something that works for us. We’ve agreed to the terms. So I think it’s safe to say now we are in the market again and we’re entertaining our options at this point.”
Could it be the market for a 35-year-old defensive-minded guard has dried up and he’s not signing the buyout as a last resort? The free agency that was giving out big contracts to older guards in the first two weeks of July may have been saturated at this point. He’s scheduled to make nearly $3.5 million next season if he were to stay on his deal with Utah.
Why would he refuse?
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