The Lakers Five Years from Now: What the Casual Fan Will Do

Hayden KimCorrespondent IIIMay 16, 2010

SALT LAKE CITY - MAY 10:  Pau Gasol #16 and Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrate against of the Utah Jazz during Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2010 NBA Playoffs on May 10, 2010 at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

What does the future hold for the Los Angeles Lakers?

It's 2010 and it looks as though the Lakers are going to repeat once again. It seems as though Kobe Bryant and the Lakers will never slow down. They are like flies that always come back, you can swat them, but they always return.

Still, there is a last time for everything, even for the greatest franchise of all-time. What will the Lakers do when Bryant's over the hill and the "Zen Master" is gone?

In my opinion, they will try to recoup as they always do, find more fresh meat, or bring in another superstar. Kobe is already 32, Pau Gasol is 30, and Ron Artest is 31. People may say Andrew Bynum is the future, but does he really have the capability to take over a team with his mentality and talent?

No way.

Mitch Kupchak probably knew that when he made the move to get Gasol and Artest. That this was for the short term, not the long term. The short term is nearing its final destination.

It's ironic that two of the greatest franchises of all-time are both nearing recuperation mode at the same time. Boston's "Big Three" and the Lakers stars are both rolling down the hill as we speak.

There is always a possibility that both teams regenerate and regain greatness once again, but there is also the bigger possibility of both teams losing their crowns for a very, very long time.

For the Lakers, their problem is much greater than any other team in the league. They are currently paying the most luxury tax among all NBA teams. Once again, only for the short, but successful term. Once Bryant, Gasol, and Artest retire, the Lakers road to greatness will be the longest walk probably in their history.

People around the world expect only the very best from the Lakers. Will the people jump off the Lakers bandwagon as soon as they start to fail?

From my experience, I know they will. The sad part of this is the average fan will follow only the best team and the best player at that very moment. For now, that will be LeBron James and whatever team he chooses to play for in the future.

As a Lakers fan, that is my worst nightmare. But the fact is it is already coming to life.

In five years the Lakers franchise will begin regrouping and will begin searching for the next MJ, Bryant, and James. The casual Lakers fan will most likely follow another team.

The ticket sales will decline, and hell, Jack Nicholson may disappear. No, Jack will never leave, but my point here is this: If you are a Lakers fan or "Lakers hater," the future is either bright or dark from whatever perspective you look through.

The question is will the Lakers bounce back as the U.S. did against Canada? Or will they be the annoying fly that left the house for good?

The future will only tell.