Miami Heat: Raja Bell Showing Interest, Should the Heat Deal?


The appeal of coming to Miami has struck the interest of yet another veteran looking to end their career with a title and a serene location to retire.

Jan 27, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Utah Jazz shooting guard Raja Bell (19) brings the ball up the court during the game against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeated the Jazz 116-101. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

Anticipating a buyout from the Utah Jazz, defensive specialist Raja Bell has put the Miami Heat on the top of his list of teams he would want to join. Bell is a product of Killian High School in Miami and went to college at the Miami-based Florida International University and cites his ties to the city as a large reason why he would want to finish out his career with the Heat. Not to mention, the ringless Bell would surely love to end his 12-year career on a high note.

Bell recently turned 36-years-old and has grown weary of the operations in Utah, going as far as criticizing coach Tyrone Corbin at the of the 2011-’12 season which came as a result of a lack of playing time. Bell said that he and Corbin have “irreparable damage.”

Raja averaged 23 minutes per last season, which was the lowest amount of time he’s played since 2003. He was featured in 34 games, starting 33, and impressed with his usual tough, physical defense and 39 percent shooting from beyond the arc. However, conflicts from within prevented Bell from receiving consistent, legitimate minutes.

Bell did state that he could only play a limited role and that he doesn’t really like playing 35 minutes per anymore.

He is still a member of the Jazz, but is said to be in “limbo”. He claims that the Jazz had a buyout in place, but they never gave it to him. Even stranger is the fact that Bell recently performed a physical with Utah. It sounds as if the Jazz organization has some serious communication issues because they currently have a player who wants nothing to do with them and is talking about joining another team.

So, would the Miami Heat be willing to make a deal? It’s no secret that the Heat are absolutely stacked on perimeter and wing talent. However, they are lacking in perimeter defenders outside of Shane Battier, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Although Norris Cole and Terrel Harris have proven to be solid defenders, Bell gives the team a proven veteran with added toughness that would provide the Heat with a gritty edge that no other perimeter player could provide.

Bell made it to the All-Defensive first team in 2007 and the All-Defensive second team in 2008.

Plus, it only means more time for Wade to rest up on the bench. Having defensive specialists like Bell and Battier on the floor would present a considerable challenge to opposing guards and forwards. Not only does Bell fit on defense, but he also plays into the idea of spacing the floor being a 41 percent shooter from beyond the arc.

He led the league in three-pointers converted in 2007 with 205.

Yes, these accomplishments were a few years back but it at least shows what Bell is capable of. He’s still a great defender who’s extremely physical and he just recently shot near his average from beyond the three-point stripe.

It’s up to the Heat on whether they want to give Bell a chance, although it would seem reasonable that they should. The team is on an obvious lookout for a big man, but has also given looks at guards in Harris, Garrett Temple and Nigerian Olympian Chamberlain Oguchi.