<
>
EXCLUSIVE CONTENT
Get ESPN+

Six not-so-easy steps to build the next great Lakers team after Kobe

The Lakers are suffering through their worst three seasons since moving to Los Angeles 55 years ago. But with Kobe Bryant announcing his retirement at the end of the season, the team now has the clarity it needs to prepare for a future without Bryant.

Since the Lakers' hopes for a sixth championship with Bryant were dashed by his Achilles injury in April 2013, followed by Dwight Howard's departure for the Houston Rockets that summer, the franchise has been stuck in an awkward purgatory -- caught between trying to stay competitive in Bryant's golden years and developing young talent to eventually supplant him.

Now, the organization can fully commit to building the next great Lakers team. Here's what that should entail in six steps, some of them easier than others: