Thursday, March 3, 2011
Carmelo Anthony writes to Nuggets fans
By Ian Begley
Special to ESPNNewYork.com
Ten days after completing a messy divorce from the Denver Nuggets, Carmelo Anthony wrote a letter expressing "gratitude" and "appreciation" to his former team's fan base.
Anthony, who was traded to the New York Knicks Feb. 22 in a blockbuster deal, posted a note on his website on Thursday telling Nuggets fans "you will always be a part of my heart."
The 26-year-old Anthony declined Denver's three-year, $65 million contract extension offer in the offseason, setting the stage for months of speculation about his future. The guesswork ended last week when Denver completed a three-team, 13-player deal to send Anthony to the Knicks.
In a letter titled "A NOTE TO MY DENVER FANS," Anthony thanks the Nuggets faithful for "embracing" him.
"I had to let you know how I felt about you, the city, my fans, my friends," he wrote. "You've been supportive of me and my NBA career for the past 8 years and that doesn't go unnoticed.
"Drafted when I was 19 I called Denver and the Nuggets my home. The city and the fans embraced me and watched me grow as a man and a player.
"There are no words to express the gratitude and appreciation I have for Denver, the Nuggets and all the fans."
Many felt that the season-long MeloDrama was a distraction for the Nuggets.
Denver fans booed Anthony on multiple occasions during home games this season. Nuggets coach George Karl expressed frustration that the team lost point guard and Denver native Chauncey Billups in the Anthony trade. Billups had previously expressed a desire to retire as a Nugget and eventually work in the team's front office.
Three days after the deal was completed, Karl was critical of Anthony during an interview at halftime of the Boston Celtics-Nuggets game broadcast on TNT.
Karl said that Anthony's "defensive focus, his demand of himself, is what frustrated us more than anything."
Shortly after the interview, Anthony posted the following on his verified Twitter account: "Damn, are u serious. Some people never [cease] to amaze me. Unbelievable."
He followed with "WHEN THE GRASS IS CUT THE SNAKES WILL SHOW." He later said he doesn't pay attention to what Karl says. He apparently holds no ill will toward Nuggets fans either.
Anthony is averaging 26 points in his first five games with the Knicks on 41 percent shooting. New York is 3-2 since Anthony's arrival. The team faces the 11-win Cavaliers at home on Friday night. The Knicks are 0-2 against the Cavs this season, including a 115-108 loss last Friday at Cleveland.
Denver is 4-1 since dealing Anthony. They received Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton and Timofey Mozgov in the trade.
Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.