Utah Jazz: Raja Bell back in starting lineup
It was like nothing even happened.
Raja Bell was back in the Jazz's starting lineup Monday. Coach Tyrone Corbin praised his shooting guard's professionalism and calm demeanor. General Manger Kevin O'Connor eyed the high road, preached patience, and spoke not just of making the playoffs, but also of drawing a favorable seed in the Western Conference.
All it took was a private meeting between the trio Monday, and multiple revealing interviews that saw Bell and Corbin alternate veiled verbal punches with a vow that their on-off relationship is still defined by respect and understanding.
To prove it, Corbin kept Bell in Utah's first unit against Detroit, despite initially considering putting Gordon Hayward back in the starting lineup.
"He's been around this league long enough and he's been through enough ups and downs and tough situations to know when the game's on you play," said Corbin, prior to Utah's 105-90 win against the Pistons.
Bell met with Corbin and O'Connor to address lingering issues, which peaked when Corbin sent Bell home early from the team's recent five-game road trip. Bell wasn't with the team Saturday at Chicago, and his absence was vaguely classified as an internal matter.
That internal matter was a heated confrontation between coach and player, during which Bell let out more than a year's worth of frustration.
After the meeting, all involved parties said the situation has been moved forward. Bell didn't request a trade, and he's willing to remain with Utah for the remainder of his contract, which lasts through 2012-13.
"For me, it's a wrap. What was said was said and â¦ my job is to come in here and help any way I can," said Bell, who underwent a magnetic resonance imaging exam Monday on his left knee.
Results of the MRI weren't announced, but Bell and Corbin said they didn't expect bad news.
A grieving Al Jefferson played against Detroit because it's exactly what his grandmother, Gladys Jefferson, would've wanted.
Gladys, 82, died Sunday night due to internal bleeding. She lived in Jefferson's hometown of Prentiss, Miss.
Jefferson will attend her funeral Friday, and expects to miss games Saturday against Golden State and Sunday at the Los Angeles Lakers.
Jefferson tallied 33 points and 12 rebounds while playing 36 minutes, 13 seconds.
O'Connor said for the second time in 24 hours the Jazz are active in trade talks, adding Monday that the team is being "aggressive."
"Our ownership has said, 'Hey, use [a trade] if you feel like it's going to help you,' " O'Connor said. "But â¦ it would have to be something long-term."
He added the Jazz are unlikely to add a player in the last year of his contract, but also acknowledged anything could happen before Thursday afternoon's deadline.