Certainly, we can have a little fun trying to define exactly what a "source familiar with thinking" means (friend? Mom? Telepathic?).
The idea doesn't sound quite as crazy today as it did a few days ago. NBA star Deron Williams is on his way to Turkey and that team has expressed interest in bringing Kobe over as well. It might be a publicity stunt but Kobe did spend time in Italy as a child. And then there's that whole Chinese Barnstorming Tour idea being floating around.
Bryant is a Mercedes-Benz endorser and the state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai sounds like a pretty nice place to play some basketball and grow your marketing brand. Two things Kobe loves doing.