There's a large magnetic board in Mitch Kupchak's office containing the names of every player on the Laker roster, and what grabs him every morning is the name that's missing.

"Not seeing him up there is not a great feeling," said the Laker general manager. "But I mean, really. We had him for 20 years. You can't expect that. We're thankful we had him that long."

Kobe Bryant is no longer in the building or on the board, and as Kupchak said, the Lakers will suffer if only from the loss of an icon. In the past, the franchise had an astonishing ability to follow one successful era with another, and the question now is this: Is Kobe's successor already on the roster?

If you haven't noticed, he flipped the vacancy switch on his way out the door.

"He's gone," said Kupchak, "and it opens a new chapter."

The search started in earnest Friday at the Samsung Summer League and intensifies Saturday when Brandon Ingram, who has the highest star ceiling on the roster, is matched against the Sixers and Ben Simmons, putting the draft's top two picks on the floor. As summer league games go, this is must-see TV.

The Sixers took Simmons over Ingram because they (and other scouts) felt Simmons had better franchise-player qualities. But Ingram doesn't fit the mold of a booby prize, more like Simmons is 1A and Ingram 1B. That's how the Lakers see it after witnessing a few scrimmages and his Summer League debut against the Pelicans. Ingram was very versatile on the floor, had a nice off-the-dribble game and finished with 12 points and four rebounds. Kupchak raves about Ingram's basketball IQ and readiness.

"He's got a presence on the floor," Kupchak said. "He'll handle the ball. He'll direct people around. He's got an uncanny knack for anticipation."

Unlike Kobe, Ingram won't have the luxury of breaking in with a teammate at the level of Shaquille O'Neal or on a winning team. While next season likely won't be 17-win miserable as the one just completed, the Lakers are young and without an All-Star. Ingram must therefore fight against the effects of possibly losing a string of games, and the occasional poor performance, although his makeup — secure and laid-back — suggest he'll be mature enough to cope with it.

Also, he isn't attracting the same soaring level of expectations as Kobe did as a 17-year-old straight from high school. So there will be a comfortable learning period where he can rebound from mistakes and also gain weight, which is his only obvious flaw.