The Raja Bell saga goes on.
The Salt Lake Tribune learned Monday that Bell has not accepted a buyout with the Jazz, despite the veteran guard saying July 8 a verbal agreement had been reached between the sides and only formalities remained.
"We’ve been given the greenlight by Utah to go ahead and find something that works for us. We’ve agreed to the terms," Bell said in July. "So I think it’s safe to say now we are in the market again and we’re entertaining our options at this point."
Jazz General Manager Kevin O'Connor would not discuss Bell's buyout when recently asked about the situation during Summer League in Orlando, Fla. But a league source confirmed Monday the Jazz have officially offered Bell a buyout. He has refused to accept the deal, though, stalling an already long-delayed process.
Messages left Monday for Bell and his agent, Herb Rudoy, weren't immediately returned.
Technically, Bell is still under contract with the Jazz and set to make $3.4 million in 2012-13. With second-round pick Kevin Murphy expected to compete for a contract during training camp if he's not signed sooner, the small-market organization is losing flexibility — Bell and Murphy would give the Jazz 15 players if the season started Monday.
Bell, 35, averaged 6.4 points and 1.4 rebounds during the 2011-12 season in 34 games (33 starts). He played in only one contest after March 15, though, dealing with a left knee injury and publicly clashing with coach Tyrone Corbin several times.
During an exit interview, Bell said Corbin made things "personal" — Bell didn't play against San Antonio during a first-round playoff series, despite being healthy — and the 12-year veteran made it clear he didn’t want to ever play for Utah again.
Bell said July 8 he'd received interest from several teams, and he's been linked to Miami and the Los Angeles Lakers. A league source told The Tribune last week, though, that Bell wasn't close to signing with a new club.
Brian T. Smith