MIAMI Could Raja Bell be returning to his hometown to play for the Heat?
The Salt Lake Tribune reported Sunday night the guard has gotten permission to be bought out of his contract by Utah. Bell acknowledged to the paper that Miami, Boston and the Los Angeles Lakers are among teams that intrigue him.
Bell played at Miamis Killian High School and at Florida International. As of early Monday afternoon, Bells agent, Herb Rudoy, said he had not had any contact with the Heat and didnt want to speculate on Bells chances of ending up with Miami.
I have been given permission to seek a trade (for Bell) or to reach a buyout, Rudoy said. (Jazz general manager) Kevin OConnor has given me that permission. There will be plenty of teams interested.
With the Jazz apparently not wanting to take back salary, Rudoy said any trade likely would have to be to a team that has the cap room to absorb Bells contract, which is 3.4 million next season in its final year.
Considering Bell's salary and age (35), a trade seems less likely. If Bell is bought out, Rudoy said he would be a candidate to accept the minimum salary of 1.35 million with a new team because any buyout would insure he wouldnt make less this season than his existing salary.
While Rudoy wouldnt name any teams, he said Bell has interest in going to a contender.
I dont think anything will happen until after the 11th, said Rudoy, referring to Wednesday, the first day that contracts can be signed after a 10-day NBA moratorium.
If the 12-year veteran reaches a buyout, it would be two days before he could clear waivers and then sign with another team.
Theyre willing to part ways, Rudoy said of the Jazz letting go of Bell, who averaged 6.4 points for them last season. Hes not in their plans.
Bell is a defensive specialist who was named to the NBAs All-Defensive first team in 2006-07 and the second team in 2007-08. While its unclear how much interest the Heat have in Bell, its a team that certainly stresses defense.
After shooting guard Ray Allen committed last week to join them as a free agent, the Heat have three open roster spots.
Theyre trying to get free-agent forward Rashard Lewis, who visited Miami on Sunday, to sign for the 1.35 minimum, which is all the Heat have left to spend.
Free-agent center Marcus Camby, who will not accept the 1.35 million, postponed a Saturday visit to Miami. Its still possible a sign-and-trade deal could be arranged for Camby with Houston, where he played last season.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @christomasson