Even sitting here writing this, it seems almost blasphemous to think of the Purple and Gold without the Mamba, but, as with all good things, they do come to an end. With Kobe Bryanthaving his last game under the bright lights of Hollywood, it's inevitably time to look to the future of the franchise and what that means for Laker Nation.

Luke Walton coming home

After having spent a number of years in uniform (and after having spent the last few seasons on the bench with Steve Kerr and the Golden State Warriors), Luke Walton has officially been named the Lakers head coach.

That said, this, of course, isn't just a nostalgic trip down memory lane for the fans, there's a young core of players that need solid leadership, championship pedigree, and experience on the bench to make the most out of that youth -- and Walton has all the tools at his disposal to make the Lakers contenders in the coming seasons.

Brandon Ingram

With the 2nd overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft, the Lakers selected Brandon Ingram.

At 6-foot-10, Ingram has the ability and versatility to become a solid stretch 4 for the Lakers, and also has the length to occupy the Center position if needed. He also has the potential to be an effective Kevin Durant-esque Shooting Guard. If he packs on a bit of muscle and works on his skills, he can easily fit into the run-and-gun, stretch the floor game that modern NBA Basketball has become.

After the success that Walton had in Golden State, it stands to reason that he may want to try and replicate that success with his young core of Brandon Ingram, D'Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, and Larry Nance Jr. It's safe to say that the triangle may officially be dead in Los Angeles.

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The future in Southern California

One has to remain realistic. Ultimately, even with this young core and the cap space that's going to be freed up on account of having no true All-Star caliber players, it may take a few seasons before these high draft picks begin to pay off. Here's to hoping that these new Lakers, along with Mitch Kupchak and the rest of the organization can pull off something similar to what the Oklahoma City Thunder were able to do in their rebuilding years.

Whatever happens, though, one cannot rule out the possibility that the Lakers may just be able to sign a star player with the free cap space. Either way, the future looks a little brighter under the bright lights of Hollywood, and, as a fan, there are certainly things to look forward to in the coming years.

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