“Management of the local NBA franchise has shown it is unafraid to make trades involving a marquee player,” writes the Denver Post’s Mark Kizla, reporting the Nuggets will attempt to do just that with Carmelo Anthony if their leading scorer rejects a three-year, $65 million extension that’s currently on the table.

With an eye on how megastars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have held the league’s competitive balance in their fickle hands and turned this summer’s free-agency period into a three-ring circus, the Nuggets seem determined not to let Anthony do the same in Denver.

While their offer of a hefty contract extension proves the Nuggets hope Anthony will remain the face of the franchise for years to come, the team is prepared to trade Melo rather than let him walk as a free agent next summer, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.

At a salary of $17 million, Anthony is committed to play for Denver during the upcoming season. But here’s the rub. Anthony can opt out of his contract next summer, and free agency might appear all the more tempting after seeing the league-wide groveling James has instigated.

As a proactive move, the Nuggets have quietly tried to secure the services of Anthony through 2015 before losers in the pursuit of this talent-laden class of free agents can begin dreaming of Melo.

It’s a fascination situation, and one Knicks GM Donnie Walsh is no doubt paying rapt attention to, especially considering the flurry of reports that point to Chicago or Miami being more likely destinations for James and Bosh.  And what could be a better photo opportunity than having Isiah Thomas gatecrash Anthony’s introductory press conference, in order to whisper some inappropriate advice?