Carmelo Anthony isn’t the subject of the most significant NBA-free-agent story right now (that honor goes to Cleveland’s LeBron James), but that doesn’t make his situation any easier.

Even though Anthony has one more year on his contract (worth about $17 million), the Nuggets recently offered him a three-year, $65 million extension in hopes of avoiding a contentious bidding war with other teams next summer.

The longer Melo delays in signing the extension, the more speculation will arise that the deal may not end well. Enter The Denver Post, which suggests that Denver may end up having to trade Melo in order to make sure he doesn’t leave the team high and dry next year.

“While a city of Broncomaniacs has obsessed with the contract status of football stars Elvis Dumervil and Champ Bailey, the negotiations between the Nuggets and Anthony might have already reached a more critical stage, because management of the local NBA franchise has shown it is unafraid to make trades involving a marquee player,” writes Mark Kiszla.

The respected Post columnist thinks Melo should use whatever leverage he has to force the Nuggets to bring in some bigger guns to help him compete in a stacked Western Conference. If not, the two parties should go their separate ways.

Meanwhile, Nuggets big man Kenyon Martin may miss training camp and possibly even more time after having surgery on his left knee, the Post reports in a separate story. It’s unclear when Martin will return to the team. He could yet be traded to a franchise looking to clear out salary-cap space.