Coby, not Kevin

While the Boston Celtics appear on the verge of acquiring Kevin Garnett for a package headlined by Al Jefferson — it seems that Garnett has changed his mind about playing in Boston…we don’t know superstars who changes their mind frequently, do we? — the Lakers announced the signing of…Coby Karl.

It’s something that has been in the works for quite some time. Karl, a 6-foot-5 guard, played on the Lakers’ summer league team and average 12.2 points. He had a solid career at Boise State and you might remember that Karl had cancerous lymph nodes removed from this throat this year.

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Quotes on Fisher

Here’s what Mitch Kupchak and Phil Jackson had to say about the return of Derek Fisher to the Lakers today:

In evaluating our team at the end of last season, we said we needed help in the back court, primarily a veteran ball-handling guard said Kupchak. As we began looking at free agents, we never imagined that Derek would be available. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, the opportunity to sign him became an option and we are pleased we were able to do so.

With Derek, weve added a veteran player that is familiar with the offense we run and who has had great success in doing so, said Kupchak. He will also be able to mentor and help our young players develop. He brings leadership and stability both on and off the court and is a consummate professional in all that he does. I am very happy to welcome him back to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers are thrilled to get back a key member of our three-time championship team in Derek Fisher, said Lakers Head Coach Phil Jackson. Derek has been one of the clutch players for our team and I anticipate that hell have many more chances to contribute to our successes.

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Garnett in L.A.

The Daily News’ Matt Kredell reports that Kevin Garnett was at UCLA yesterday, watching some tennis. Garnett told Matt that he’s friends with Mardy Fish, who was playing a match against Sam Querrey. Garnett wouldn’t give up any information about whether he might be staying in L.A. on a longer-term basis…

Also, Kredell stayed to watch James Blake. Blake said he is friends with Garnett’s agent and that Fish is friendds with Garnett’s wife. Professional sports is a small world…

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Kobe in Hollywood

Kobe Bryant made an appearance today at a Nike-sponsored event in Hollywood designed to promote the company’s newest project: the construction of playgrounds/fields around the greater Southern California area. Kobe was the headliner, following Serena Williams and skater Paul Rodriguez Jr., and the 200 or so kids on hand were thrilled to see him. Kobe slapped hands with the kids after he finished speaking, but unfortunately the kids didn’t get any closer to finding out what Kobe thinks of the Lakers these days.

Every time a question was asked that was…well, interesting, one of Kobe’s “people” pulled him away. He said, two or three times, that he didn’t want to talk about his situation and instructed reporters to “call Mitch Kupchak” instead. Right-o. Kobe expressed empathy for Derek Fisher, who he described as a good friend, but wouldn’t comment, even in a general sense, as to whether he would be pleased if the Lakers signed Fisher.

Chances are you’ll see Kobe on the news tonight, talking about playgrounds.

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Kobe speaks

Kobe Bryant held a basketball camp at Loyola Marymount University this week, and this afternoon he addressed a few reporters. Questions were primarily limited to the camp, but Bryant did answer a couple questions about his status with the Lakers. He was asked, flat-out, if he still wanted to be traded but gave something of an ambiguous answer:

“I havent thought about that in a long, long time. Ive kind of stepped away from that. Ive concentrated on Team USA. What I say is what I say. Well just have to see where it goes.”

Bryant did say that he apologized to general manager Mitch Kupchak for the comments Bryant made in the infamous amateur video that was released on the Internet. In that clip Bryant, who apparently did not know he was being recored, derided Kupchak for not improving the Lakers’ roster.

“I was frustrated. I was venting. … I just felt like as a man, it was important for me to tell him, Im sorry it came out that way.”’

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The point-guard shuffle

Smush Parker? Out.
Jordan Farmar? In.
Javaris Crittenton? In.
Steve Blake? In, perhaps, if the price is right.
Derek Fisher? The most intriguing option of all.

The Lakers introduced Crittenton today and signed him. He will participate in the Las Vegas summer league, beginning this weekend, and he showed off a uniform with a No. 1 on it, although that may or may not be his actual number.

Also, Mitch Kupchak indicated that he would explore the option of bringing back Fisher, who has been freed from his contract with the Utah Jazz. Fisher’s daughter has a rare form of eye cancer, and if he’s going to continue to play, he wants it to be in a city that can offer his daughter the proper medical attention she requires.

Fisher won’t actually be a free agent until July 11, but the Lakers (or another team) could work something out for Fisher before then. They have a $5.5-million mid-level exception available.

Here’s some quotes from the day’s proceedings.

Kupchak, on the possibility of signing Fisher: “Yesterday is a new development that will be addressed. We don’t know what Derek’s intentions are. I have not sat down and addressed the Lakers’ needs in regard to Derek. I think he still loves the game and would like to play in the future, but first and foremost he has to address the health of his daughter. Our prayers are with Derek and his family. … The NBA hasn’t given much direction on how this will play out.”

Kupchak, on his rookie-year plays for Crittenton: “We didn’t draft him thinking he would be a lockdown guy for us this year, but you never know. We didn’t think Jordan Farmar would play as much as he did last year.”

Crittenton, on his thoughts about joining the Lakers: “I’m just excited, when I think about all the great players who have played for this organization, from Magic to Kobe. So many great players have come through this organization and I’m happy to be a part of it.”

Crittenton, on what he brings to the Lakers: “I’m a ball-handling point guard and I think I can get my teammates involved. I can shoot the ball and get to the rim. I’m athletic, and I’m just ready to contribute in any way my coaches need me to.”

Crittenton, on his decision to leave Georgia Tech after one season: “It was tough when I first started to think about it and sat down with my family. I talked to my coaching staff and got information from the NBA and just prayed about it. I felt like this was the right time for me to come out.”

Crittenton, on meeting Phil Jackson: “I was just excited meeting him, because that was my first time ever meeting him in person. He’s a legend. He coached Michael Jordan and he’s coaching Kobe right now. He’s a great coach who has won many championships. I’m just excited to meet him.”

Crittenton, on Jackson’s reputation for being tough on rookies: “That’s fine with me. He’s only going to make me a better player. He’s coached some of the greatest athletes and he’s only made them better. That’s what I’m hoping he can do with me.”

Crittenton, on his experience running the triangle offense in high school: “I think it will benefit me greatly. I played all four years of high school with the triangle offense. I still remember a lot of the triangle offense. I think it will help me a lot, to step in here with coach Jackson running the triangle offense.”

Crittenton, on preparing for his rookie season: “I feel like I’m prepared for this. I know I still have a lot of things to learn, but I have a great coach around me, in Phil Jackson, I still have my college coaches in my corner and this great organization to help me become a better player.”

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Walton to re-sign

The Lakers and Luke Walton have reached agreement on a six-year, $30-million contract. Word is that general manager Mitch Kupchak was in touch with Walton’s agent, Lon Babby, shortly after midnight Sunday and got the deal done. “They called at the earliest possible moment, and we worked on it all day” Babby told ESPN.com. “They wanted him back, and Luke wanted to be there. We wanted to make every effort to get an agreement before we went out and looked at any other teams.” Walton, 27, averaged 11.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.3 assists. The move will not officially be announced until July 11, when contracts can be signed.

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