Brandon Ingram was worth the wait. The Lakers All-Star forward was a surprise third-teamer in the fan vote behind LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo after he left the Lakers and returned home to Florida.
The 23-year-old with two NBA championship rings moved into his Beverly Hills house in time for Christmas Day.
As far as the Lakers are concerned, they made the wise decision to trade for him instead of him going to the Orlando Magic as part of the D'Angelo Russell deal.
"We know what he can do," Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said. "It's his development from a mental and a physical standpoint, as well as a strategic standpoint, that's coming through in a really positive way."
Ingram was at practice Thursday with his new Lakers teammates and was smiling as if he has his own All-Star game in mind for next month in New Orleans. His third-place finish to Kevin Durant in the fan vote was both surprising and surprising for him.
"I think it's something I'm going to have to talk to my coaches and my teammates to get through," he said. "It's cool that people put so much time and effort into helping me. It's like I told everybody. It's still the All-Star Game. It's a cool honor, but it's not where you got to show your stuff. It's up to me to bring that.
"It's something I've thought about a lot. Being able to live in your own house. Things that I've missed out on being in the NBA that I'll get to be able to do now, things that I've been able to miss out on as a kid, things like that. It's nice to be able to take my son out and play beach volleyball together."
"It's been crazy. I haven't been able to live in the (L.A.) area since I was 17 years old. Just seeing how the city has changed, it's nice to be back here."
Ingram said he had every intention of playing in the All-Star Game in Orlando.
"I'm a selfish player, so I definitely would have wanted to be here," he said. "I'll be here on the sideline cheering for my teammates."
He's wearing the same jersey No. 2 he had on for the Lakers, but now has worn it with the same No. 3. His No. 3 is a gift from Magic Johnson.
Young star Kyle Kuzma wore a pair of Steve Madden basketball sneakers during practice, presumably to be able to play the game with a new sneaker similar to his signature shoe that is scheduled to come out shortly.
Kuzma would have been familiar with the sneakers, which are available on Steve Madden's website and at some malls. Steve Madden is going to release a pair of his "Kyle Korzma Premium Stan Smith" sneakers on Monday, and they will be available at LakerLifestyle.com.