Raja Bell Uncertain of Future
The buyout that was expected to come in July still hasn’t arrived for Raja Bell. Because of that, the veteran guard recognizes that even a possible move into free agency might not mean the opportunity to suit up for his hometown Miami Heat.
The defensive-minded swingman with 3-point range said Friday that he remains hopeful of receiving his release from the Utah Jazz in advance of next week’s start of training camp and that few teams hold the allure of the Heat.
“They would be on the top of my list, for sure,” he said on 640 Sports’ Andy Slater Show. “Again, hometown crowd, my kids are in elementary school here. It’d be great for me to get a chance to play here in Miami where I grew up and I know a lot of people, and be a part of this history that they’re going to make for the city. But that’s not always just up to me.”
Facing a diminished role amid an uneasy relationship with the Jazz staff, the native of St. Croix, who attended both Killian High and Florida International University, appeared poised for a buyout early in the free-agency period. He is due $3.48 million this coming season from Utah on the final year of his contract.
“Right now, I’m taking a physical on Monday out in Salt Lake,” said Bell, who turned 36 Wednesday. “We had a buyout in place early in the summer. The Jazz never officially presented it to me. But they never really officially told me I was coming back there, either. So I’m really in a limbo situation right now.”
Had Bell completed his release in July or even August, he might have been better positioned to approach the Heat. Instead, 18 of the 20 spots for Heat training camp already have been filled, with those sessions opening Sept. 29 at AmericanAirlines Arena.