Raja Bell returns to the Jazz

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Utah Jazz are bringing back Raja Bell. Agent Herb Rudoy said Bell and the Jazz agreed to a three-year deal worth around $10 million. The 33-year-old shooting guard just needs to pass a physical, which probably won’t happen until next week. Rudoy said Bell is thrilled to be coming back to Utah, where his career took off during two seasons with the Jazz between 2003 and 2005. He was a favorite with both the fans and coach Jerry Sloan because of his defense. “He loved playing for Jerry. He loved living in Salt Lake,” Rudoy said Thursday. “It was an easy decision for him to come back.” Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor said Bell just needs to pass his physical and show his left wrist has recovered from surgery last year and Utah will gladly welcome back the gritty defender who can motivate his young teammates. “We know he’s a competitor. He and Coach have a terrific relationship,” O’Connor said. “This deal probably would not get done if it wasn’t for that he had played for Coach and wanted to play for him again.” The return of Bell indicates the Jazz won’t be matching Portland’s front-loaded offer for restricted free agent Wesley Matthews, who made Utah’s roster in training camp as an undrafted free agent and was a starter before the end of his rookie season. Bell is a career 41 percent 3-point shooter who has averaged more than 10 points per game while playing for six different teams. He spent last season with Charlotte and Golden State, but played in just six games because of left wrist surgery. The Jazz needed a shooter after free agent Kyle Korver signed last week with the Chicago Bulls, who had also just signed power forward Carlos Boozer. Utah replaced Boozer with the bigger, younger Al Jefferson and the Jazz will have shooters in Bell, first-round draft pick Gordon Hayward and C.J. Miles.

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