Melo ready to 'spearhead' Knicks

GREENBURGH, N.Y. –- The Knicks may have been an old team last season, but they were loaded with experience, wisdom and leadership.

Carmelo Anthony knows he will have to take on even more of a leadership role this season with veterans like Jason Kidd, Kurt Thomas and Rasheed Wallace gone. Replacing Kidd, the new Nets coach, will not be an easy task as far as making the right plays and getting easy baskets.

“Being one of the leaders, I have to be the spearhead,” Anthony said. “I have to be the forefront guy to hold guys accountable, to hold myself accountable. Because I think if I’m able to do that and we hold each other accountable, it makes everybody’s life easier.

“I know I learned a lot from Jason, from Sheed,” Anthony added. “Just having them guys around and being around those guys. I can take my knowledge that I already have, apply that to what them guys have taught me on the court, off the court, to make our team better.”

Coach Mike Woodson acknowledged what the veterans brought last season, even if they didn’t play a ton of minutes.

“Last year, make no mistake about it, those veteran guys helped us,” Woodson said. “Wasn’t like they played big minutes, but they were a big part of what we did last year. You don’t win 54 games without everybody being a part of it.”

Kenyon Martin, who can be one of the team’s more vocal leaders, said replacing Kidd’s ability to adapt on the court will be difficult.

“J-Kidd, mentally, is one of the best people I’ve ever been with, who knows the game and thinks the game on the fly,” Martin said of his former Knicks and Nets teammate. “Not a lot of people are able to do [that]. We’re going to miss that aspect, but you have guys like myself, Tyson [Chandler], Melo has been around.

“I think I have been a pretty vocal guy over my career, so if I see something that can help the team, I am not afraid to say it.”

Martin wishes his old friend luck with his new Nets job.

“I wish him the best except for the four games when they play us,” Martin said. “I think he’s going to lead those guys in the right direction.

“He has a lot of vets on that team that respect him; he added Lawrence [Frank] to the staff, which is going to make his job that much easier. ... I think that is going to help him a lot -- hopefully not in the four games against us.”