While appearing on 104.3 The Fan's "Clough Talk" on Monday night, the Denver Post's Chris Dempsey said that Carmelo Anthony will at least listen in regards to staying in Denver. Let's hope he listens to this...
You and I have never met before, but I've been paying your salary ever since you came to Denver seven years ago.
That's right, me.
Me and thousands like me are the reason you get to play basketball for many millions of dollars. We're the ones who pay exorbitant prices for tickets - which, frankly, most of us can't even afford - whether you play or not. So for all the millions we've bestowed upon you, I'm hoping you'll extend me the courtesy of reading this letter.
To be clear, this has been a two-way relationship. In return for those millions you've collected from us, you've given us seven great years of basketball here in Denver. You've routinely played hard. You've gotten the Nuggets into the playoffs for seven consecutive years. You helped bring us to the brink of our only NBA Finals appearance. You've had the guts to take countless game-ending or game-tying shots and, by my accounting, you've made about half of them. And you've made Denver Nuggets basketball relevant on a national scale again for the first time in almost 20 years.
On top of all that, you've been active in the community with your charity work and basketball camp for which we greatly appreciate.
I guess this is my round-about way of saying you don't owe us much. After playing hard for seven years, you've earned the right to play in any market of your choosing (as you're alleged to be desirous of) and I - and many fans just like me - wish you nothing but the best for you and your family wherever you end up.
But as you mull over your options about whether or not to sign a contract extension to play in Denver, I hope you'll give what's written here some serious consideration. After all, for all those millions we've thrown your way, perhaps you could give staying in Denver another hard look. And here's why...
If you really want to win a championship while playing with a good friend or two and get the maximum amount of dollars plus guaranteed years while doing so, then Denver is the place to do it. That's right, Denver.
Now bear with me because it ain't happening this season, but it could very well happen two seasons from now if you're just a little patient. When the 2010-11 season concludes, the Nuggets - your Denver Nuggets - will finally have salary cap flexibility to build a long-term contending team around you. Gone will be Kenyon Martin's albatross of a contract. Gone will be a big chunk of Chauncey Billups' contract. And it's possible that J.R. Smith - you know, the guy who quit on your team in Game 6 of the 2010 playoffs at Utah - will be gone, too.
And in that salary void equaling in excess of $32 million, the Nuggets - with you as the team's focal point - will have their pick of the litter from the 2011 free agent class. Unfortunately, that class doesn't offer much. But it doesn't matter because chances are the season is going to be wiped out anyway thanks to the looming lockout (and you know what I'm talking about, you were just at the negotiating table with the owners in New York last week...we really need to keep you away from New York, by the way). A lockout, mind you, that will likely level the playing field for all 30 NBA teams. And don't you think Stan Kroenke will thrive in a system that doesn't just benefit the larger market teams? I know I do.
Therefore, with ample cap space and nowhere to spend it until 2012, the Nuggets will be in prime position to surround you with the talent you need to win it all. How would you like to play from 28 to 32 years old with your boy Chris Paul at point guard? Or maybe you'd settle for Deron Williams running the show? Need a big man? How does Robin Lopez at center sound? Or Chris Kaman? You saw what the Nuggets organization was able to do with no money when they brought in the likes of Chauncey, Arron Afflalo, Chris Andersen, Dahntay Jones and Ty Lawson these past two years. Just imagine what they could do with more than $32 million to play with?? (Of course, it doesn't help that they fired the guy who made those deals, but I digress...)
Meanwhile, come 2012 Kobe's Lakers, Duncan's Spurs and Nowitzki's Mavericks will be two years older than they are now. And they're already pretty damn old! So while your boys from Miami rack up 65-plus wins during the 2012-13 season, your Nuggets may have to settle for 60 but at least you'll get multiple nights in South Beach during the NBA Finals!
Look, I know the temptation to play in New York or Los Angeles is a powerful one. I've spent ample time in New York and have lived in Los Angeles. But before you jump ship, let's look at those situations a little more closely.
In Los Angeles, your options are the Lakers or the Clippers. Should you go to the Lakers, you'll always be a distant second banana to Kobe...a guy who doesn't always play nice with fourth or fifth bananas, nevermind thirds and seconds. Not only won't you be able to slack off in practice...ever...but if you wear the purple and gold, you'll forever be known as a guy riding Kobe's coattails. You really want that?
Should you go to the Clippers, I hope you sign for as many guaranteed seasons as possible because there's a 90% - make that a 95% - chance you're tearing at least one of your two ACLs within your first month in Clipperdom. That's just what happens there. Oh, and even if your contract reads "guaranteed" that means nothing to Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Just ask Mike Dunleavy. The bottom line is, should you become a Clipper be prepared to add a contract lawyer to your payroll.
Speaking of suspect organizations, what about your once-beloved but forever-cursed Knicks? Sure, playing in New York sounds fun in theory until you realize Knicks owner James Dolan is a spoiled rotten frat boy gone wild with no business competence whatsoever. Wanna know why the Knicks haven't been relevant since Bill Clinton got impeached? That's all on Dolan. And that old barn known as Madison Square Garden is nothing more than a rotting, rusting dump at this point. Is high-fiving with Spike Lee really worth giving away more than half your income in federal and state taxes? I certainly don't think so.
And while I'm sure the soon-to-be-Brooklyn Nets may seem appealing on paper, think about this before jettisoning the beautiful Mile High City with our 300 days of sunshine and countless parks: you'll be playing in Newark for two years for a defensive tyrant and the most incompetent GM not named David Kahn. I'm sure new Nets coach Avery Johnson will be thrilled with your offense-first/defense-is-optional playing style. Have fun with that.
And don't even think about going to Orlando to join forces with Dwight Howard. Not only will you fight over shots with Rashard Lewis, J.J. Redick, Mickael Pietrus and Jameer Nelson, but I hear Orlando is nothing more than a Mickey Mouse town (insert groan here).
And those are just the on-the-court issues.
I know you're newly married and your wife is probably egging you on to move to a more glamorous location. But think about this for a minute. You got married at 26 years old and she's 31. Chances are a rich guy like you with access to the best health care will live until you're at least 95 years old and, since women live longer than men, she'll be with you every step of the way. Meaning, you're now on the hook for 70-something years of matrimony. 70!! Tiger Woods couldn't do it for 10.
Rather than spend every day together for the next 70 years and risk getting on each other's nerves early and often, why not send her to your new house in Los Angeles for some much-needed time apart during the season? This way, you can concentrate on your first love - basketball - while she can focus on the things that are important to her. Trust me, if you truly love her, this can only be accomplished by staying in Denver.
So as you can see, not only does Denver provide you with the most money, the most guaranteed years, the opportunity to win a few rings with your friends and the best chance of having a long-term, healthy marriage, but it's the only place with fans like me who have your best interests at heart.
I sincerely appreciate your time and consideration for reading this letter and look forward to seeing you at Pepsi Center on October 27th against the Utah Jazz. I'll have my checkbook handy.
Denver Nuggets Season Ticket Holder