Kobe Bryant(notes) has become a strong advocate for Bell, a former nemesis. After missing most of the season with surgery to repair ligaments in his non-shooting wrist, Bell is still expected to be a coveted bench player among contending teams. He could give the Lakers another strong perimeter defender and a solid outside shooting threat.
Bell famously dropped Bryant with a clothesline foul in the 2006 playoffs, but the two developed a mutual respect and bond. Bell was ejected and suspended a game for the foul, and complained about Bryant’s tactics in the postgame news conference.
"It's a personal thing when someone continually hits you in the face,” Bell said at the time. “That's the only way I can put it. I've been playing as hard as I can play. I've been trying to do a good job, I've been trying to be what my team needs me to be, and I continually get hit in my face. There doesn't seem to be any boundaries or limitations for what he's allowed to do to me, and at that point, I kind of lost my cool and I took it into my own hands.”
Bell made a league-high 205 3-pointers in the 2006-07 season for the Suns under coach Mike D’Antoni, but his role changed the next season under Terry Porter and he was eventually shipped to Charlotte. Bell averaged 13 points in 45 games for the Bobcats in the 2008-09 season.