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The Utah Jazz Really Hate Raja Bell
Don’t mess with Utah. It’s not just Sundance film festivals, snow-capped spring mountains and Mormons in Utah. Deep within the crevices of this moral metropolis lies a fiendish thirst for revenge over wrongdoings. Over the weekend, the bell of vengeance rang for Utah Jazz DNP leader Raja Bell.
The 36-year old shooting guard has sat out the entire season after the Jazz agreed to pay his $3.4 million dollar salary to let Bell chill out in his Miami home as the team tries to hold on to a lingering chance at a playoff appearance.
The antagonism towards Bell stems from a verbal showdown between the guard and Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin last season after a game in Philadelphia. While cleaning out his locker at the end of the team’s 2012 season, Bell called Corbin “unprofessional” due to a lack of communication.
“I think everyone understands the situation we’re in now,” Bell said at the time according to an ESPN report. “When it gets to a point where there’s absolutely no communication for months on end, we all know that that’s irreparable damage.”
Yet the Jazz chose not to amnesty Bell. Instead, they let him sit out the season before waiving him over the weekend. But the real kicker, the part that will cause current and future Jazz players to think twice about airing any grievances about the organization, is that the team dropped Bell 10 days after the playoff eligibility deadline.
So Bell is now free to join any team that shows an interest, but only for the 20 or so remaining games in the regular season. Should he join up with a team that is playoff-bound, it will be a short romance as Bell cannot accompany them to the post season.
The question now is which team would jump at Bell knowing they only have him for a few weeks?
The answer? Nobody.
To sign Bell now would be like going on a date with a girl knowing that there is absolutely zero chance of winding up in bed together. Even the Charlotte Bobcats, long accustomed to losing and bad bets, would pass. Most likely, Bell will be watching the rest of the season and playoffs like the rest of us: In front of a TV.
The Utah Jazz showed their vindictive fangs by denying Bell the opportunity to join a team going places this season. Granted, it’s never a bright idea to go after your coach publicly and now Bell can ponder if talking freely to the media was worth losing a season of basketball as a 36-year-old in the twilight of his career.
Sure, Utah didn’t want to send Bell to the Lakers or any other team that is in direct competition with the Jazz. But, to hold out a guy all season and deny him a chance at playing for a team that is playoff-bound? Just like the winter’s in Utah, that’s cold as ice.
However, for a guy raking in $3.4 million for doing absolutely nothing, there’s not many folks who can feel bad for Bell. Given that anyone would gladly sit at home for a few million dollars, it seems that even when the bell tolls for Raja, it’s not that bad.
Utah sure looks like a nice place to get married (to a few wives) and raise kids. It’s also a great place to play NBA basketball, as long as you keep your mouth shut.
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