Throughout the years, Raja Bell and Kobe Bryant have had countless run-ins on the court. After a recent buyout from the Utah Jazz, Bell is looking for a new home, and rumors have begun circulating that Los Angeles may be a fit. With the way Bryant and Bell have treated each other in the past it is hard to imagine them working as a teammates for a full season or more.
That said, Bryant has proven able to look past disagreements with rivals in the past. Matt Barnes and Metta World Peace, formerly Ron Artest, both had negative relationships with Bryant before donning the gold and purple of the Los Angeles Lakers. Once teammates, they seemed to be more than cordial, focused on winning rather than their past personal sparring.
Bell's lock down defense has made him a commodity even as he's aged. His ability to grind the gears of even the best scorers, including Bryant, is a skill that many contenders are looking to take advantage of as free agency reaches full swing. The Lakers are one such team, whose oft-maligned bench is in need of a lift. Though the Lakers wouldn't be getting any younger with the addition of Bell, they would be getting tougher.
If Bryant and Bell are able to work together and forget about the clothesline incident, among other bouts, then this may be a positive move for the Lakers. It's easy for Lakers fans to hate Bell, but if the players can work out their problems, then fans should be able to embrace a new player.
In 2010, Bryant actually called Bell multiple times, asking him to consider joining forces and help the Lakers win a championship. Bell balked at the opportunity then, but may have different feelings now. Another leader in the fight for Bell is the Miami Heat. Miami, Bell's hometown, may have a slight advantage due to their recent success.
For the past decade, Bell has always been on the wrong side of the score sheet when playing the Lakers. This may be his last opportunity to join the team he always wanted to beat.
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