Fisher: Knicks can be better next year

Updated: July 9, 2014, 10:53 AM ET
By Ian Begley | ESPNNewYork.com

One of Carmelo Anthony's goals in free agency is to put himself in position to compete for an NBA championship.

That would appear to be one knock against the New York Knicks' pursuit of Anthony. The Knicks won just 37 games with Anthony last season.

[+] EnlargeCarmelo Anthony
David Santiago/El Nuevo Herald/MCT/Getty ImagesCarmelo Anthony wants to win -- and new Knicks coach Derek Fisher says that can happen in New York next season.

But Knicks head coach Derek Fisher said Tuesday that he has assured Anthony that the Knicks will be "a better basketball team" than they were last season, according to published reports.

Fisher, team president Phil Jackson and general manager Steve Mills met with Anthony and his representatives in Los Angeles last Thursday to offer their sales pitch to the free agent.

Fisher, speaking in Las Vegas at the team's summer league practice on Tuesday, said he gathered during the meeting that one of Anthony's top priorities is to put himself in a winning situation. And the first-year coach made it clear to Anthony that he felt the Knicks could turn things around in 2014-15.

"He wants to win, wants to be successful," Fisher told reporters of Anthony. "The time I had the visit with him I just shared with him we'll be a better basketball team because we'll play the game a better way, play as a team, play with a system and format to allow the game to be easier for him for him and his teammates.

"I'm not sure if it hit home,'' Fisher added. "I guess we'll find out. Hopefully we'll find out soon."

Anthony has yet to make a decision about his next NBA home. In addition to meeting with the Knicks, Anthony sat down with the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks last week.

The Knicks, according to sources, remain confident in their chances to re-sign Anthony.

But a source told ESPN.com that the Lakers made a "strong impression" on Anthony and are considered a strong contender. The Bulls, sources told ESPN New York, "wowed" Anthony in their meeting with him and are also considered a strong suitor for Anthony's services.

The Knicks have verbally offered Anthony a max contract worth $129 million over five years. The Lakers have made it clear that they intend to offer Anthony a max contract of four years, $97 million -- the most they can offer under current CBA rules.

In order for the Bulls to offer an annual salary comparable to the Knicks' and Lakers' offers, they would have to execute a sign-and-trade with New York.

The Heat also have explored the possibility of adding Anthony to their roster. If free agent Chris Bosh signs with Houston or another team, the Heat would have a sizable amount of cap space to offer Anthony, though they're unlikely to have enough room to offer Anthony a maximum contract.

There is no timetable for Anthony's decision.

A source with knowledge of Anthony's thinking said late Monday night that no team has been ruled out and that the decision remained "up in the air."

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