Kobe Bryant, it has been revealed today, has cut short a family vacation in Europe in order to travel the thousands of miles back to Los Angeles in time to be present when the Lakers franchise greets, and holds talks with, star free agent Carmelo Anthony.
Alongside LeBron James, Melo is the biggest name to become available in free agency this NBA offseason and the star shooting guard, most recently of the New York Knicks, is a man in high demand.
The Kobe factor
As such the Lakers are clearly trying to pull out all the stops in a bid to impress Anthony, and having Kobe travel back from Greece in order to be present at pivotal free agency discussions certainly shows just how keen they are to have Anthony in a Lakers jersey come the 2015-16 NBA season.
As recently as yesterday Bryant had posted a picture to his official Instagram account showing he and his wife in Athens, but ESPN reports that the 16-time All-Star made the decision to cut short the vacation and travel back to the US on Wednesday evening.
Bryant and Anthony are known to be good friends, and Bryant himself has been long rumored to have been in contact with the Knicks man in an attempt to entice him to LA. But this latest revelation is the first official sign that the Lakers are serious in using Kobe to help their pursuit of Anthony.
Melo himself has been visiting a number of teams over recent days as he weighs up his options.
He has spent time in Chicago, Dallas and Houston this week as front-offices across the NBA make their pitch. It is believed he enjoyed his time in Chicago and was impressed by what he saw. Meanwhile his trip to Houston caused some controversy with current Rockets man Jeremy Lin seemingly upset at the franchises decision to present mock ups of Anthony at the Toyota Arena complete with the latter's number 7 jersey.
However, whilst the Bulls, Mavericks, and Rockets have used unique methods as they make their move for Melo, the Lakers clearly feel that having a man of the stature of Bryant in their front office when Anthony arrives is a step up on anything offered from their rival suitors.
And if you need a man to throw some rings on the table, who better to go to than Kobe?
A starting line up including both Bryant and Melo would be somewhat of an upgrade on what Lakers fans were forced to endure during a tumultuous 2013-14 campaign. And It is believed that the franchise hierarchy are keen to combine the two perennial All-Stars with Pau Gasol.
The Spanish center is another who has opted for free agency this summer but the Buss family have signalled their intent to keep the veteran in LA and if they can lure Melo it certainly wont harm their chances in building a more competitive roster.
Check out the video below to see the scoring potential a Bryant-Melo combo could have...