What’s Up, Carmelo Anthony?

Dear Melo,

May I call you, Melo? I know it’s a bit presumptuous to do so, but considering the speculation and various trade scenarios out there on the internets, it’s appropriate. Personally it goes against my “Benny Hill Assume” rule, but we’ll go with it anyway.

I’m certain you’ve noticed the attention put forth on your alleged desire to leave the Denver Nuggets, and unless John Cusack and Cameron Diaz found a gateway to “being” you, no one can say for certain what you want. But it’s been written that you want to play for that team across the Hudson River, the New York Knicks, or barring that, the Chicago Bulls.

The Knicks are obviously very receptive to you joining their squad as you would make them a serious contender out of the Eastern Conference along with the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, and aforementioned Bulls. However, since the Knicks don’t play defense, in spite of what Mike D’Antoni said before the end of last season when he was trying to” sell” to the upcoming free agents, I don’t expect the Knicks to get too far. But, like with this current hullabaloo and prognostications as to where you’ll end up playing next season, who knows?

Maybe you’ll even become a part of the New Jersey Nets.

No matter what’s been said or what eventually came out as the truth, it was a blow this past summer when your buddy, LeBron James, didn’t sign with the Nets. Of course, if that blow was a punch to the shoulder for the Nets, it was surely a kick in the testicles for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Twice. That said, there wasn’t a definite identity for the Nets at the time. I mean, Brook Lopez was definitely the cornerstone at that point, and Devin Harris had the ability to be a top ten point guard, but what else? Adding any of the name free agents would have helped shape the franchise into a contender and give it direction.

Well, Melo, times have changed since then. I believe the Nets now have that direction – a young team built around Lopez with the shooters (Anthony Morrow, Travis Outlaw, and a complementary stretch four in Troy Murphy) and athletes (Terrence Williams and Derrick Favors primarily) around him that will improve dramatically from last season. Add a new head coach in Avery Johnson that will make the team focus and give non-stop effort (and maybe even get Harris back to being an All-Star) and the Nets are in good position.

However, there are some Nets fans that think adding your services would push the team to another level. It’s hard to argue that it’s possible, but at what cost? Of course it’s best to go with the proven guy (you) as opposed to hang on to potential (Favors) that may never produce, but Favors (the main sticking point it seems to getting a deal done with the Nuggets) has a ton of potential. Dare I say, Dwight Howard potential. And, in my humble opinion, it’s a lot harder to find an excellent big man that can board and block as opposed to a wing player who doesn’t play defense but scores a lot. Yes, I’ve been called stupid in my assessment already and many Nets fans are clamoring for you to don the Nets uni. I just don’t see it myself.

It’s not you, it’s me.

First of all, I doubt your sincerity in wanting to play for the Nets in the first place. All indications are you really want to play for the Knicks and that’s cool if it’s true. All offense and scant evidence of defense is perfect for your game. I doubt Avery will appreciate you not being able to stop your man on defense while D’Antoni, however, will look the other way as long as you put up 26+ points.

Second, and no offense, but I don’t think you’re the type of player that can elevate a team on the NBA level. Of course what you did as a freshman at Syracuse will always be special, but your record of making it out of the first round of the playoffs only once in seven seasons doesn’t tell me the Nets will be improved enough over the long-term. This season, however, there’s almost no question the Nets would play in the postseason with you on the team. However, how about for the next several seasons? Will the Nets improve enough with you at the lead? The Nuggets really didn’t until Chauncey Billups, a proven postseason performer came around.

Third, I don’t know that the chemistry and overall aesthetic of the team will be right. If, in fact, the package the Nets would send back to Denver for you is Favors, Murphy, Kris Humphries, and draft picks, who will be the Nets starting power forward? Joe Smith? Johan Petro? No thanks! Plus, we all know you like to shoot the ball and that’s fine since you score a ton, but what about Lopez, Harris, Williams, and Morrow whose skill set dictates they need the ball to maximize their talent?

Lopez is the first option in the half-court, which you would be if you joined the team therefore diminishing Lopez’s role a bit. Harris will continue to be the penetrator and either dish or take it to the rack. Williams will do the same, but probably more of the latter. Morrow will dial it from downtown, but is athletic enough to become more than just a shooter. Favors won’t need the ball, and to a lesser degree, neither will Murphy or Outlaw. The offense will come to them through kick-outs, passes inside, or on the break. This core of players seem like a great fit for the upcoming season.

Fourth, owning ten draft picks in the next three drafts is a good thing for many reasons, but basically for flexibility. To piggyback on this concept, having a manageable salary cap is also a good thing.

And, fifth, I don’t think the Nets should settle for being that dude that takes out his dreamgirl to dinner because 1) she’s hungry and 2) her other string of suitors are busy. Yes, it’s presumptuous, but you really want to play for the Knicks and it seems like if you played for the Nets, you’d be settling, as well as the Nets.

I think the Nets and Nets fans have settled enough and need to give this group of current personnel a shot this season. It’s basically a radically different group from the 12-70 team that got younger, more athletic, and possesses more skill. There is a great new coach and, more important, a new owner in Mikhail Prokhorov that wants to win and is willing to spend money to do so.

I just don’t think he should pay for your dinner.

Best of luck,
DV from Nets Are Scorching

If Melo or anyone else wants to call me a dummy, feel free to leave comments below or tweet at me @dv140.