With starting center Thomas Bryant sidelined for the season due to a torn left ACL injury, the Wizards signed two free agent centers on Saturday. In addition to former Maryland standout Alex Len to a one-year, minimum deal, Washington signed Jordan Bell on a 10-day contract.
Here are five things you should know about Bell.
1. Bell was traded on draft night
The 26-year-old improved his game each year at Oregon, culminating in a standout redshirt junior campaign when he posted averages of 10.9 ppg, 8.8 rpg, and 2.3 bpg. His high-octane energy and highlight-reel slam dunks made him a good fit at the NBA level, but undersized at 6-foot-8 and lacking on-ball defensive quality, Bell has been frequently flipped around the league.
That started on draft night in 2017 when the Chicago Bulls drafted him in the second round and 38th overall before being traded for cash considerations to the Golden State Warriors. Initially thought to be a good fit for the defending champions that boasted Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, Bell was traded after the 2018-19 season.
Since then, Bell has played a combined 29 games for the Timberwolves and Grizzlies before the Wizards' G League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go acquired him prior to the suspension of the season last March. After that, the Cleveland Cavaliers signed Bell to a two-year deal before dealing him to the Lakers in a trade for JaVale McGee. The defending champs waived Bell a day later and he's been a free agent ever since.
2. Bell has played for six different organizations
Before Bell signed with the Go-Go, Bell had been a part of five different NBA organizations. While he played a role on the Warriors for a couple of seasons, the four following teams haven't given Bell as much of a chance. Since signing a one-year deal as a restricted free agent and then playing in 27 games for Minnesota, Bell was traded to the Rockets in the Robert Covington deal. A day later, Houston traded Bell to Memphis for Bruno Caboclo, who the Rockets waived 10 days ago.
The Grizzlies then released Bell on March 2.
“When it happened, I was down, I was sad, I wanted to cry,” Bell told The Athletic. “I wanted to be mad, I wanted to cuss somebody out, I wanted to fight somebody. But I still had a chance to play basketball in the NBA. There’s not a lot of people who get to say that.”
It's clear the former Oregon Duck is hungry to play in the NBA, but Bell will have to impress coach Scott Brooks if he's to stay past his current 10-day deal.
3. He once angered the Mavs with a garbage time dunk off the backboard
Late in a Golden State blowout win over Dallas, Bell threw the ball off the backboard and dunked in just his fourth NBA game with no opponent nearby. This angered Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle and the Mavs bench, who figured such a flashy play was unwarranted given the score.
Bell told reporters postgame the dunk was just "fun." Durant chimed in that it was an incredible display of his athleticism, while also adding that he should protect himself the next few trips down the court.
4. He last played an NBA game on Feb. 26, 2020
Bell's last game came as a member of the Grizzlies against the Rockets on Feb. 26, 2020, his second and final game with Memphis. He registered six minutes and finished with five points, going 2-3 from the field, including a successful 3-point try.
5. You may have heard this story about the prank he pulled on a Warriors assistant coach
In March 2019, Bell was suspended for a game for "conduct detrimental to the team." The conduct in question? Bell reportedly ordered two hotel items, both of which were not disclosed nor was the price of how much they cost, in Warriors' assistant coach Mike Brown's name.
While Bell thought this would be a funny, innocent prank on his coach, Brown obviously thought otherwise. Bell's teammates ended up playing it off as not being a big deal, and Bell said he learned from the experience.
"It's really not that big of a deal," Andre Iguodala told NBC Sports Bay Area at the time. "It's a mistake, nobody was harmed, learn from it and make sure it doesn't happen again. You just have to have your antennas up as far as how your mind works.