Updated 08:22 AM EST, Mon, Jan 25, 2021

NBA Free Agent Rumors: Kobe Bryant Will Not Recruit Carmelo Anthony to Join Los Angeles Lakers

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Kobe Bryant previously said that he would love to play alongside Carmelo Anthony, but he clarified that he will not actively recruit the New York Knicks superstar to join the Los Angeles Lakers starting next season.

Bryant told ESPN Los Angeles that he will let his good friend decide what is best for his future and his family, but the 15-time All-Star added that he is open to giving advice to Anthony about his impending free agency.

"I think that players, when that time comes, will have to make the best decision for them and their families. I try not to think about it too much. If he wants to call me for advice later as a friend, I will be more than happy to give it to him," Bryant said.

Anthony, who developed a close relationship with Bryant during their time together with the U.S. Men's Basketball Team, is reportedly mulling over leaving the Knicks when he hits free agency this summer.

Anthony is expected to be coveted by several big-market teams like the Lakers. The Chicago Bulls are also planning to make a strong push for Anthony in the offseason, and one of the factors that he will obviously consider is the pursuit of his elusive first NBA title.

See Related: Carmelo Anthony To Chicago Bulls?

The 29-year-old forward has yet to win or even get close to winning an NBA championship in his first 10 years, a stark contrast to his 2003 trade classmates Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, who already have three and two titles, respectively.

Bryant said that he understands Anthony's current situation because he also experienced it several years ago when the Lakers failed to reach title-contender status.

The longtime Lakers superstar actually asked for a trade in 2007 when he felt that the championship window for the Lakers was closing, but the 35-year-old superstar suddenly became happy with the Lakers again after they struck a deal that season after he demanded a trade.

At the time, the Lakers traded for Pau Gasol, which led to them winning two championships in 2009 and 2010—the fourth and fifth NBA titles for Bryant.

"It can contribute to a lot of frustration," Bryant said of playing on a losing team. "That is why I was so frustrated with this organization back in 2006 and 2007 because I didn't want to be known as a scorer. I wanted to make sure I had a team around me that could contend for a championship."

Anthony will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, but the Knicks still have the upper hand because they can offer a contract that is more than $30 million higher than the allowed maximum offers of other teams.

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