Though this is almost assuredly soon to be buried under the perpetual avalanche of Carmelo Anthony trade rumors and endless theorizing, I'd like to make a few things clear...
Fact: Carmelo Anthony stands to make a great deal less money if he a) does not sign the extension and b) tries to play hardball with the Nuggets, who could simply let him walk if no realistic deal is reached. This alone is a huge factor and I think it is the one most often overlooked when considering these rumors.
Fact: Neither Carmelo nor anyone who could be considered a representative of Carmelo has uttered one peep about his plans. Chad "Darko Milicic" Ford and Ric "My sources include anonymous Twitter accounts" Bucher do not count as legitimate reporters on Carmelo's situation. Melo is playing his cards close to his chest and he has every right to, but that does not mean that he's made up his mind.
Fact: For all the proselytizing about how LaLa is a big factor in Carmelo's decision, nobody has any evidence whatsoever that LaLa's career in any way impacts Carmelo's decision where to play. Athletes frequently have residences that aren't anywhere near the state or city in which they play and have wives and husbands who have entirely different careers that can take them to different cities. That does not mean that an athlete's seeming unwillingness to re-sign a contract to keep them in their current city is influenced by their spouse. I think it's disrespectful to LaLa and Carmelo to be talking about his wife as if she's to blame for his silence.
Fact: The Nuggets can/could clear 40 million in cap space over the next two years. Kenyon Martin's contract is off the books this year, Chauncey Billups will get a reworking of his contract, J.R. Smith will more than likely be traded or allowed to walk, and Nene is likely to retire to pursue his religious aims. While that leaves the Nuggets with some serious holes, it also creates significant flexibility. The Nuggets only have 16 million in salary on the books in 2012 as of September 21, 2010.
Fact: The Nuggets have been a 50+ win team for the last three years. Nobody could predict head coach George Karl's cancer and the significant injuries to both Bird and Kenyon last season. The Nuggets are still competitive as currently constructed and while not in a true position to challenge the Lakers for dominance, can still make moves that will allow them to challenge the Lakers in the next two to three years.
Breathe, everyone. ESPN is hyperventilating because there's no other significant news to report and they're desperate to fill the fall basketball doldrums with something. By creating this atmosphere of "Melo is on the table!", even with zero substantive evidence to support that claim, they feed the ouroboros. Do not buy into it.
Carmelo Anthony will do what he will do, and until I see a statement directly from him or a representative that's backed up by local media I'm not believing a word of these rumors.
You shouldn't either.