NBA Free Agents 2011: Carmelo Anthony, Stay With The Denver Nuggets

Ross LipschultzAnalyst IJuly 27, 2010

SALT LAKE CITY - APRIL 30:  Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets pumps his fist during their game against the Utah Jazz in Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2010 NBA Playoffs at EnergySolutions Arena on April 30, 2010 in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

As the biggest news from the 2010 NBA off-season has already passed, it has inevitably brought speculation about next summer. And there’s one name that no one can keep out of their mouth.

Carmelo Anthony.

The savior of Nuggets basketball can become a free agent in 2011 and his departure would bring the franchise back to the days of Bryant Stith. After watching the King of Zero bolt for Miami, Denver natives are shivering over the idea that their 'Melo might leave too.

Anthony’s probably quoted The Clash quite a bit lately.

“Should I stay or should I go?”

The NBA has become the triumvirate machine recently. The Celtics built the Boston Three Party and then the Heat got the Three MyEgos. With Chris Paul trying to swing a trade, many think Anthony might join him to make contender elsewhere.

But for ‘Melo, that’s not the smart move.

So keep your pants on, Knicks fans.

The talk of the former Syracuse star leaving Denver seems to favor him leaving those beautiful baby blues next season. The media has made forming a super team seem like the best way to guarantee a title, no matter how the fans view you.

If ‘Melo stays in Denver, however, he can come out as the Mother Teresa of the 2003 NBA Draft.

Look at all the flack LeBron got for leaving Cleveland just because his number one mission was to win. However, unlike the Cavs, the Nuggets have the resources to build around Carmelo in 2011.

Chauncey Billups and Kenyon Martin are free agents in 2011, and the only players who are guaranteed to be on the team after this season are Chris Anderson, Al Harrington and Renaldo Balkman.

That’s roughly $11 million total, which is pocket change for the NBA

The Nuggets will likely pick up Nene and Ty Lawson’s options, which leaves them at around $24 million. Their lineup now has a top five center in the West, and extremely talented point guard and a versatile power forward.

Sound good yet? Keep drooling, Mile High.

The free agent market may not be flashy next year, but it’s deep. If Carmelo signs for any sort of discount, which he would if he left to make a powerhouse elsewhere, the Nuggets can make Denver a perennial contender. 

Need a shooting guard? Jamal Crawford, Michael Redd and Caron Butler are available for less than a huge deal.

Don’t think your front line’s big enough? Carl Landry, David West and Zach Randolph would love to win for a change.

Want someone to tutor Lawson? Tony Parker can use a change of scenery.

Why wouldn’t these guys want to be Nuggets? Denver sports fans are diehards to say the least, and will idolize these new guys. The arena and facilities are top-notch, and as long as the Broncos aren’t on, you are the toast of the beautiful, mountain-lined town.

Gee, what a nightmare?

Sure, these aren’t the monumental names that moved this off-season. But the 2011 Nuggets are close to where the Knicks and Heat were this year. They can sign Carmelo and still have one of the best top-to-bottom teams in the league.

Something that worries South Beach residents every day.

If he stays in Denver, Anthony and James become polar opposites, and that’s beauty for his image. The Miami Heat have become the most villainized NBA team, and even the Salem Witch Trials saw less burning effigies than Cleveland.

Anthony, on the other hand, could cement his legacy.

He would lead the Nuggets for years to come and be seen as the killer of the younger generation of NBA stars. A few titles later, and the king’s palace won’t be in Florida any longer. When they redo the 2003 NBA Draft, guess who’s on top?

No, not Darko.

So why leave? Anthony leaves a lot of money on the table without a guarantee of a title in any other city. Staying in Denver and bringing in some hardware could make him one of the most beloved icons in Colorado history, not just sports.

He may not reach John Elway status, but he certainly would cruise by ex-governor Davis Waite. 

I hear Googling.

Obviously, some people think the end of the Nuggets time in contention is nigh, but that’s all on number 15. He can keep his reputation and win big with the money Denver has available.

Or he can have ESPN host The Decision 2011. I’m sure they’d gobble that up.

Check out more from Ross at and follow him on Twitter at Rossel64.


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