Utah Jazz: Bell meets with Corbin, O'Connor to clear the air
SALT LAKE CITY — After a tumultuous weekend, Monday ended up being a good day for Raja Bell.
The veteran wasn't quite sure what this day would bring after he was sent home from the road trip a day early following a verbal dispute with Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin on Friday night in Philadelphia.
Forced to miss Saturday's game in Chicago, Bell spent Sunday at home not knowing what his fate with the organization would be.
He still wasn't sure heading into a Monday morning meeting with Corbin and general manager Kevin O'Connor, which came after a shootaround session that he did not participate in.
"The last couple of days were pretty uncertain for me," Bell said. "I didn't know what to think."
Both sides came out of the heart-to-heart session between Bell and Jazz management calling the meeting positive and productive, claiming it helped clear the air between the 12-year veteran and the second-year coach and got them moving in the same direction.
"It's business as usual. We had a good conversation," Bell said after the discussion. "We talked over a few things. You keep it moving."
None of the involved parties divulged many details about what was discussed, but Bell was reinserted into the starting lineup later that night for the Jazz's 105-90 win over Detroit.
"It was good to be back with the team," Bell said after logging 27-plus minutes. "I enjoyed playing tonight and getting the win."
Corbin, who was terse with reporters when asked about Bell on Saturday and Monday morning, agreed on that point with the player who doesn't always see eye-to-eye with him.
"You get back to what we do. This is what we do, man, playing ball and getting back on the floor and getting back to normalcy," Corbin said. "It's all behind us. We're just going to play forward."
O'Connor encouraged media to not make too big of deal out of this Bell-Corbin conflict. Jazz brass obviously didn't agree with how the emotional and frank-speaking Bell expressed himself — details being sparse as to what actually went down in the locker room Friday — but the GM thought the situation was "handled appropriately by all parties" in the aftermath.
"That chapter's closed. We're moving on," O'Connor said. "I think you understand that we're committed. Raja's a competitor. Coach is a competitor and we're going to figure out a way to try and get to the sixth or fifth place in the league. That's our goal, and that's what we talked about in there — what's the best way to do that."
Before the meeting, Corbin paused when asked about his relationship with Bell and then said: "He's a player. I'm the coach. ... I've known him for a while. It is what it is."
Though he's had disagreements with Corbin, Bell was quick to give his vote of confidence in his bench boss.
"I've never questioned him as the right coach for the job," Bell said.
Bell was adamant that he didn't demand to dealt elsewhere.
"I wouldn't ask for a trade," he said. "I don't think it's time to leave something because it's not going well. At the same time, I think we all needed to have that conversation and figure out where we go from there."
O'Connor declined to comment when asked if Bell requested a trade, but the shooting guard said he could see himself staying with the Jazz through the end of his contract that expires at the end of the 2012-13 season.
"I bought into coming here and doing my best to help this team win, so that's what I've tried to do all year, and until that's not my job anymore that's what I'll do," Bell said. "I told them in there I like Salt Lake. My family likes Salt Lake. I really enjoy my teammates and so from my perspective I'm fine."
Even though his playing time was limited on the road trip after he returned from a groin injury last week, Bell said his lowered minutes weren't the source of his outburst or aggravation.
"It wasn't like that," Bell said. "I think it was just general frustration. . . . You play a lot of games. Everybody is a competitor. Everybody wants to do their best to help a team win. Sometimes our frustrations come to a head."
O'Connor added that the situation was a reminder of how the Jazz organization works: "Owners own, managers manage, coaches coach and players play, scouts scout."
Bell understands that, and is comfortable with his role and relieved that this is in the past.
"I'm here and ready to go," Bell said. "For me, it's a wrap. What was said was said and what was talked about in the meeting was talked about. My job is to come in here and help any way I can, and that's what I'm going to do."
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