As Kobe Bryant prepares to close the curtain on his illustrious 20-season NBA career, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban revealed he thought he had struck a deal to acquire the five-time championship winner in 2007.
With Los Angeles Lakers star Bryant set to farewell basketball against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, Cuban said a deal was agreed after the 37-year-old demanded a trade nine years ago.
Bryant later confirmed the Chicago Bulls were his number one choice, though he went on to win two NBA titles in 2009 and 2010 following Pau Gasol's arrival in Los Angeles.
But it could have been so much different, had Cuban got his way.
"Like I've told you guys [reporters] many times before, in 2007 I would have sworn that we had a deal done [for Bryant] for Josh Howard and Jet [Jason Terry]," said Cuban, who featured on Dancing With the Stars at the time.
"I was telling all the stagehands at Dancing With the Stars that it was done.
"Mitch [Kupchak] or Jerry Buss or somebody talked [Kobe] out of it."
Cuban, whose Mavs ended up winning the 2011 championship, added: "It would have been different. That's all I can say. Woulda, coulda, shoulda.
"But like I said earlier, players don't win championships, organisations do. Right? That's what [former Bulls GM] Jerry Krause says."
Star forward Dirk Nowitzki - the 13-time All-Star and 2007 MVP - was also keen to see Bryant in Dallas.
"I do remember Dirk coming to me and saying, 'If you can trade me for Kobe, you've gotta do it'," Cuban said.
"I was like, 'Aw, Dirty, that's not going to happen'."