Jazz notes: Raja Bell takes shots at Utah, suggests Hayward should be traded
Matt Slocum, AP
PORTLAND, Ore. — Raja Bell won’t be hired to work PR for the Utah Jazz anytime soon.
Three-plus years after calling Tyrone Corbin “unprofessional,” the disgruntled ex-Jazzman publicly took the organization to task yet again this week.
The first time Bell berated the Jazz, it was at the locker cleanout following the 2011-12 season. Incidentally, Bell never played for Utah again, earning $3.4 million to stay away from the franchise in 2012-13.
This time around, Bell was commenting on a CBSSports.com segment about players who need to be traded when he took another jab at the Jazz.
“They’ll never get rid of Gordon Hayward,” Bell said of the Jazz. "But for his sake, I would hope that they’d let him go and see what it’s like to play in other places in the NBA where they do things a little more professionally and are up with the times.”
Bell added with a laugh, “Forgive me, Utah.”
Though Jazz fans on social media tore into Bell for the slight, Utah coach Quin Snyder took a measured approach to the criticism.
“I don’t know Raja. He wasn’t here when I was here. I don’t know where that (comes from),” said Snyder, whose Jazz tenure began a year after Bell’s contract ended with Utah.
“I’ve been here for two years and I think we’ve got an unbelievably professional organization. If he’s making a statement, it’s clearly not about where we are right now. I don’t understand why he would say that. I don’t. He can say what he wants. I just don’t get it.”
Snyder also stood up for Hayward, whom Bell seemed to give a backhanded compliment. Bell averaged only 6.4 points and saw his minutes decrease as Hayward was given a bigger role during the 2011-12 season when the veteran shooting guard had issues with the way Corbin treated him.
“The reason I think Gordon needs to move is because I don’t think he’s a true No. 1 player,” Bell said. “I think Gordon is an awesome No. 2 guy. He’s phenomenal — 19.3 a game, almost five assists. But he’s a No. 2.
“He shouldn’t be carrying the mail for you ever night, because you’re going to be stuck competing for that eighth spot, probably falling short being in that ninth or 10th spot,” Bell continued. “Gordon is a tremendous player. If he could play with a No. 1, he could really be of value to a championship team.”
Snyder had nothing put positive things to say about Hayward.
“Gordon’s doing great,” the Jazz coach said. “I think Gordon’s game is continuing to improve. I’m excited for his development.”
TOUGH LOSS: Gordon Hayward and the Butler community are mourning the loss of a beloved former player, Andrew Smith. He died of cancer on Tuesday.
Hayward described the loss as “a very difficult situation” for what he called the Butler family.
“My heart goes out to his family and his wife,” Hayward said. “He’s been battling it for years now. He’s a tough guy, a really tough guy.”
Smith, who was only 25 years old, and Hayward were teammates on the 2009-10 Butler squad, which advanced to the NCAA championship game.
“I don’t remember him talking much, honestly. He was just a freshman,” Hayward said. “He was just a hard worker, a guy who was smart in the classroom and he was quiet when I was there. I’ve been told that as he grew up he became one of the leaders. That would’ve been cool to see the transformation.”
STILL OUT: Derrick Favors again traveled with the Jazz but missed his 11th straight game with back spasms. The power forward is listed as questionable for Thursday’s home game against Sacramento.
“I think it’s a process for him. A back is a really tricky thing,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “We just want to be smart about him not coming back too soon and making sure that he’s 100 percent healthy.”
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