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Thursday, August 21, 2014
Melo optimistic about new-look Knicks

By Ian Begley

NEW YORK -- A confident Carmelo Anthony believes the New York Knicks will create a "new culture" and "new identity" this season and leave any remnants of last season's 37-win nightmare in the rearview mirror.

"I don't think we will have another season like we had last year. When I say, 'I believe that we will make the playoffs,' that's where I'm coming from. I think we will have a much better season than we did last year," Anthony said on Thursday night at Barclays Center, where he served as a coach in a celebrity basketball game sponsored by CC Sabathia and Robinson Cano's charities. "As far as putting a number on the games we want to win, it's hard to say that right now. But as far as us feeling good about this upcoming season, the way we feel I'm confident in what we're about to create. I believe we will be in the postseason."

Anthony tested free agency over the summer and was courted by several teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls. He ultimately decided to re-sign with the Knicks, agreeing to a five-year, $124 million contract.

Anthony reiterated on Thursday that he was "close" to leaving New York.

"It was close. I don’t even like to talk about that no more," he said. "This is home. There is no place like New York. Although the other situations were very intriguing, there is no place like New York."

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, who coached Anthony on Syracuse's national championship-winning 2003 team, said earlier this week that Anthony would have left New York if Phil Jackson hadn't joined the organization as president.

Anthony smiled when Boeheim's marks were relayed to him.

"I haven’t heard that. I know [Boeheim] says some crazy stuff. That’s my guy. He’s been the same way for 40 years. But at the end of the day, man, with what we’re trying to create here in New York, it’s a new culture and a new identity, and we’re trying to create that," Anthony said. "As far as me staying here, a lot went into that decision. At the end of the day, I did have to believe in Phil, I did have to believe in my teammates. So that’s all that matters."

Anthony said that he has spent time recently playing with teammates J.R. Smith, Cleanthony Early and Tim Hardaway Jr. at his gym in New York and commended Amar'e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert's offseason workouts.

"Everybody is just putting in the proper work. I think with the new energy that we have now with the team and the coaches, everybody is just excited to get back," he said.

Anthony and the Knicks will have to learn a new offense this season. First-year head coach Derek Fisher is expected to implement Jackson's triangle offense.

"It's something that's not going to happen overnight. That's why I'm kind of getting into it right now and kind of studying it and learning it and just trying to figure out where I'm going to be at on the court," Anthony said. "It's not about really me, it's about everybody else. If everybody's not on the same page in the triangle, then the triangle is not going to work. So it's about everybody coming together, playing they're role and doing what they have to do to make it work."

Anthony acknowledged that teams in the Eastern Conference have improved. But he sounds confident in the improvements the Knicks have made, which include trading for Jose Calderon and Samuel Dalembert, and signing free-agent forward/center Jason Smith.

"Regardless of who got better, I believe we got better. I believe [our team] has gotten better than last year," Anthony said. "I know what I went through last year from an emotional standpoint, and I don’t want to feel that again."

Question: Do you agree with Carmelo Anthony that the Knicks create a culture of winning this season under Phil Jackson?

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