Utah Jazz reach agreement with swingman Raja Bell
Former starter 'thrilled to be back' with Utah franchise
Before the NBA's summer free agency shopping market opened late last month, Bell had hoped to play for his hometown Miami Heat.
San Antonio was another possibility.
And on Wednesday night, he was scheduled to meet with Bryant, who was heavily recruiting Bell for the Lakers.
Bell — who was with Phoenix at the time — is remembered for clotheslining Bryant during a 2006 playoff game, and getting under the Laker star's skin throughout that particular series.
Bryant later ripped Bell and said, "I have bigger fish to fry" than him.
Bell first made his mark in the 2001 playoffs, going from an undrafted guard who had played in the CBA to one starring for Philadelphia when it faced Bryant and L.A. in the NBA Finals.
But with the Lakers unable to pay Bell more than $1.8 million next season, he instead grabbed the unexpected Utah offer.
Agent Young, meanwhile, had texted early Wednesday night that he hadn't heard a word from Utah about Matthews' future.
A short time later — with someone in tow who can do a lot of the same things as Matthews and arguably shoots a bit better, all for less than half the annual price — the call came.
"He's ready to go to Portland if (Bell passes the physical)," Young said moments after speaking with Matthews, an undrafted rookie from Marquette whose Portland offer sheet calls for more than $9 million to be paid with seven days after the NBA approves the contract.
"Like I've always said, he's excited to play anywhere. Utah gave him his start ... but it kind of is what it is." Young added. "If someone is offering that kind of money — I hope there's no hard feelings from the Utah fans or Kevin (O'Connor) or the media or anything like that."
There certainly are none on Miller's part.
"It's a great success story," the Jazz CEO said. "You think about where he was a year ago, and where he is today, and it's a great thing for him and his family, and I'm happy for that and I just wish him luck."
Contributing: Jody Genessy
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