Coby Karl, Media Day
Heading into training camp, the Lakers have 14 players under a guaranteed contract or universally expected to start the season under a partially guaranteed deal. The NBA allows a maximum of 15 players per roster. I was a rather shoddy math student in high school, but even I can figure out that means one spot and one spot only remains for the taking (assuming the Lakers don't open with 14 fellas, as Mitch Kupchak has said is possible).
Obviously, things can change as we see more preseason action, but for now, the "inside track" money would likely be on second-year player Coby Karl. But don't tell him that. Even while acknowledging how last season's team opened with a stuffed roster and had only 13 by midseason, he's treating the situation as one slot doesn't fit all. "My mind-set is that I have to make sure that I'm on the team and show them that I belong here." How to make that notion crystal clear? Do everything "a championship-caliber team does," from playing D to rebounding to mirroring the teamwide professionalism Karl observed as a rook, generally from the bench.
I got a few minutes with Karl, who also included some good stuff about Derek Fisher's fourth-quarter defense, which he considers top drawer.
Coby Karl: Download coby_karl_media_day_9.29.08.mp3