We've never formally met, but when our Denver Nuggets acquired you via a trade last summer we welcomed you with open arms. You see, the two-guard position here in Denver has only been manned by a few select super talents and you're one of them. Since joining the NBA in 1976, we're talking David Thompson, Allen Iverson and you. Let me repeat: The Skywalker, The Answer and you. That's it. And "the other AI" - your former 76ers teammate Iverson - was only here for a year-and-a-half. You have the opportunity to hold the starting two-guard spot for the latter best seasons of your career, rivaling only Thompson in Nuggets lore among the best two-guards in NBA franchise history.
Moreover, if our Nuggets are to make "the leap" into conference finals territory (or beyond), we need you anchoring the starting two-guard spot for the next five seasons. Pairing up with Ty Lawson, you already form one of the NBA's premier backcourts, but you know there's room for improvement ... improvement you could be a catalyst for.
Now, we understand that the 2012-13 NBA season didn't go exactly as hoped for. On the one hand, you helped lead us to an NBA franchise record 57 regular season wins that included an epic, record-breaking 15-game winning streak. On the other hand - and despite your valiant efforts in Games 5 and 6 - you weren't able to capitalize on those 57 wins in the first round of the playoffs. And while it might be tempting to jump ship to another NBA team that could, theoretically, compete deep into the playoffs, wouldn't it be more satisfying to complete what you've started in Denver and get paid handsomely while doing so? (Remember, the Nuggets can sign you up for five years while competing teams can only offer you four.)
And if you thought the 2012-13 NBA season was exciting for all associated with the Nuggets, just wait for the 2013-14 campaign to kick off. First, the aging San Antonio Spurs are a year older, the ascending Memphis Grizzlies just lost their exceptional head coach (and I suspect much of their mojo along with him), the Oklahoma City Thunder have an injury-recovering Russell Westbrook and perhaps no starting shooting guard, the Los Angeles Lakers remain in disarray and the upstart Golden State Warriors remain at the mercy of Stephen Curry's oft-injured ankles. Point being, the Nuggets window to shake up the Western Conference remains wide open. WIDE open.
Secondly, you have a new head coach in Brian Shaw who will walk into training camp with five rings on his fingers. Again, FIVE rings. And he knows a thing or two about developing young talent at the swing positions, just ask Kobe Bryant and Paul George. Thirdly, rather than play the freelancing pseudo-star by committee style seen last season, I suspect the new coach will formulate a more structured offense which could bring out the best not just in you but also promising youngsters like Lawson, JaVale McGee, Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried and Evan Fournier. Because as you know, our Nuggets aren't a star away from conference finals (where anything can happen) contention, they're a Lawson or McGee becoming a star away from conference finals contention.
And finally, by having such a deep team, your individual stats won't be scrutinized here plus our Nuggets can offer you more in-game rest than just about any suitor. And as you approach your 30th birthday, that added rest could add extra years - and big dollars - to your NBA career. Do you really want to join a team that is so desperate for your services that your stats are overanalyzed and your playing time spikes into the 40-minute range again?
Simply put, our Nuggets can't ascend to the lofty heights targeted without you. You're the veteran stalwart who bridges the generations between the young-ish Nugget players and the coaching staff currently being assembled. It's as if you'll be a coach on the floor, setting you up for a post-playing career alongside the likes of Shaw should you choose the coaching avenue after you've retired.
And despite having appeared in six post-seasons, you've only been to the second round once. With this Nuggets team, you can experience deeper post-season play as early as next April.
As far as Denver itself goes, I shouldn't have to sell you on that but I will anyway. In addition to our beautiful environment, clean air and lack of traffic, the Nuggets have built a culture that's fun to be around. Long gone are the days where Nuggets players left Denver during the off-season. Instead, the team gets together for Pepsi Center scrimmages as early as September ... a month before training camp begins. And you yourself have been staying in town to train and workout, surely a testament to the exceptional facilities and ease of living in our up-and-coming city.
So there you have it. Your legacy and your longevity hinge on staying in Denver, a city where you can deliver our Nuggets into territory we seldom reach.
The choice is yours, and we sincerely hope to welcome you back with those open arms again.
Denver Nuggets Fans