The speculation can officially come to an end. Duke’s Brandon Ingram will be taking his talents to the Los Angeles Lakers with the team bringing in the promising young forward with the second pick in the NBA Draft.
After Ingram had been drafted by the Lakers on Thursday, the 18-year-old admitted his love for the franchise and former superstar Kobe Bryant. Ingram said the following about his new team and the five-time NBA champion, via Lakers reporter Mike Trudell:
Ingram: “I grew up being a Kobe fan … I have a Lakers jersey back home. I’m going to work as hard as I can to be the best player I can.”
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) June 24, 2016
Ingram will help shoulder the scoring load for the Lakers in the post-Kobe era in Los Angeles while playing alongside D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, and Julius Randle.
With Ingram now officially set to wear purple and gold next season, the Lakers will focus all their efforts on their getting their next pick right at 32 overall. Los Angeles has plenty of needs and addressed a major one at small forward with Ingram, but it remains uncertain who they’ll roll the dice on once the second round comes around.
Once the draft is in the books, Luke Walton and company will get to work on continuing to upgrade the roster in NBA free agency. It will be a crucial free agency period for the Lakers with the team being armed with a considerable amount of cap space and needing some proven veterans to help develop the team’s talented young core led by Russell.
Los Angeles will target a number of the top free agents expected to hit the open market including Kevin Durant, Al Horford, and Hassan Whiteside to name a few.