At last report, it would take no fewer than 3 teams, 13 players, multiple draft picks and the not-so-small matter of an unsigned max extension for Carmelo Anthony (above) to take his talents to Newark, NJ, and Newsday’s Alan Hahn suggests even if such a swap never occurs, the appearance of activity on that front is valuable P.R. for the Nets and Nuggets.

There’s no question the Nets are desperate to stay relevant and Carmelo offers the much-needed shot of adrenaline they need. The longer they remain an option, the more they remain relevant. There is a lot of season left and there are tickets to sell, not to mention tickets to sell in Brooklyn. Whether he eventually winds up with the Nets or not, Carmelo — at least the hope for Carmelo — is good for business.

But this really means more for the Nuggets, who know they can’t wind up empty-handed like the Raptors, Cavaliers and Suns were last summer. We’re seeing the results of that now with those franchises (though it seems Toronto is at least slightly ahead of the game with a decent young core that is, at least, competitive) and Denver doesn’t want to go through similar misery in 2011-12.

Josh Kroenke and Masai Ujiri would love to win the press conference battle on the day they do ship off their star player to another city. But, really, there is no victory speech for them, only a concession speech. Their star wanted to leave them. This wasn’t a salary dump. This wasn’t a divorce. This was something forced on them. But still they fear being criticized for not getting full value for a superstar player in his prime.