Jazz sign Leslie to 10-day contract, Bell released

Mar 11 2013 - 2:46pm

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SALT LAKE CITY - Goodbye, Raja Bell.

Hello, Travis Leslie.

As first rumored last week, the Utah Jazz on Sunday officially released Bell, a 36-year-old shooting guard whose last game in an NBA uniform was April 26, 2012. He will be paid the $3.4 million owed for the final year of his contract.

In releasing Bell, the Jazz also signed Leslie, a 6-foot-4, 205-pound guard, to a 10-day contract.

Leslie, 22, had been playing for the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA Development League.

He is expected to meet the local media following the Jazz's morning shootaround at EnergySolutions Arena.

Utah (32-31) will play host to the Detroit Pistons (23-42) tonight.

The Jazz have lost four in a row and seven of their last eight games. With the Los Angeles Lakers' victory over Chicago on Sunday, the Jazz fell from the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference playoff picture.

Utah suffered a 29-point loss to the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. The Jazz saw starting center Al Jefferson return to the lineup, but missed starting power forward Paul Millsap, who sat out with inflammation in his right knee.

Millsap underwent an MRI on Sunday, indicating a bruise to his right patella and quadriceps.

In waving Bell, the Jazz finally put an end to one of the oddest chapters in team history.

He did two different tours with the Jazz, one from 2003-2005 and another that began in the summer of 2010.

Bell had a solid relationship with then-coach Jerry Sloan and said he was anxious to play again for the veteran coach. However, Sloan resigned in February 2011, leaving current coach Tyrone Corbin in charge.

Bell and Corbin didn't mix well.

Bell spoke out in April of 2011, lamenting Corbin's communication. In particular, he took issue with being how he learned he'd been taken out of the starting lineup.

Initially, the team announced Bell had a sprained toe and would be a game-time decision for an upcoming contest.

Later, Corbin said he thought Bell was "out" for the game.

At the time, Bell insisted he didn't mind the lineup change, his only issue was how it was handled.

"I don't feel disrespected," he said. "I can wish that it had been handled differently and still not feel disrespected."

Bell, a 12-year veteran, played in only 34 games during the 2011-12 season. Injuries kept him out for much of the time but he had recovered from a knee procedure in time to help the Jazz in their late playoff and in the postseason. However, a disagreement with Corbin kept him on the bench, he said.

"I thought the way I was handled by Ty was unprofessional, but that's one man's opinion," he said in May of 2012.

Specifically, Bell pointed to an incident during the regular season in which he didn't know he'd been put on the team's active list until he was told so by reporters and not by Corbin himself.

"That's as unprofessional as it gets in my book," Bell said.

When players and staff met the day after a 4-0 series sweep by the San Antonio Spurs, Bell told reporters his career with the Jazz was as good as done.

"I don't think I have a future with the team," he said. "It wasn't my call for the playoffs. Do I think I could have helped? I would have loved the opportunity to, but it didn't happen."

The Jazz and Bell failed to come to terms on a buyout agreement and even though he was still under contract for this season, the team asked him not to report to camp.

As for the newest Jazzman, Leslie was drafted No. 47 overall by the Los Angeles Clippers in 2011. He appeared in 28 games for Santa Cruz this season, averaging 16.1 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists.

Leslie was also named the D-League All-Star Game's MVP after finishing with 19 points and seven rebounds for the Prospect team during the February 14 event as part of NBA All-Star Weekend in Houston.

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