Speculation that the Denver Nuggets would rather trade superstar Carmelo Anthony than let him walk out the door without signing a three-year, $65 million contract now appears to be overblown.

AOL Fanhouse reports that Melo will likely sign the contract offer to maximize the amount of money he can make over the next few years. Based on theories about what player contracts might look like after a new collective bargaining agreement is reached in 2011, Melo could lose from $27 to $35 million over four years if he passes on the Nuggets’ offer.

Denver fans aren’t out of the woods yet, though. ESPN thinks that although it’s very unlikely the Nuggets will trade Melo, the possibility remains that he’ll choose not to sign the contract and head for the bright lights of New York. Apparently, the New York Knicks called the Nuggets last week and explored trade possibilities. Although they were quickly rebuffed, the Knicks were able to land Amare Stoudemire, who is saying Melo wants to join him in New York.

ESPN also cites “sources” making similar remarks.

But as The Denver Post writes, “Nothing is definite until he signs the contract. And he will naturally keep an eye on free-agent signings this month to see how all the teams make moves.”