Carmelo Anthony is coming off the most disappointing season of his 11 year career. It was the first time in his All-Star career that Anthony was not involved in postseason basketball.
Despite having a strong individual season,Anthony got little to no help from the rest of the Knickerbockers as they recorded an ugly 37-45 record that was good enough for 9th place in the Eastern Conference. It seemed like a foregone conclusion that Anthony would certainly opt out of his contract, and leave the Big Apple for teams that were much closer to a championship than the Knickerbockers are.
Teams like the Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets who wanted to sign Anthony as a final piece to their championship puzzle. However in end, Anthony decided to sign a 5-year, $124 million deal to stay with his hometown team because he still has business to finish up.
” I kind of forced my way here to New York and I have some unfinished business to take care of,” Anthony said Monday at Knicks’ Media Day. “I would not have felt right just getting up and leaving like that.”
Anthony was not shying away from any questions, and actually admitted that his chances of winning a title this season may have been better if he signed elsewhere. But he stated many times that he is willing to be patient with what Team President Phil Jackson is trying to do.
“I’m willing to be patient. Now how long am I willing to be patient? I can’t tell you that. But I’m willing to be patient, I’m willing to take risks, willing to take that chance,” said Anthony. “From a basketball standpoint, maybe it wouldn’t have been the greatest thing to do. But for me personally, I would not have felt right with myself knowing that I wanted to come here.
Anthony comes into training camp a lot slimmer than previous camps, and it was noticeable with a lot of Knick players as Jackson had asked them to improve their conditioning during the summer.
“As far as my physical makeup, I feel awesome, I feel great. I haven’t felt like this from a physical standpoint in a long time,” Anthony said. “But more than anything it’s a mental aspect of ‘I want to be better.’ I’m in a good place right now. I have a lot of clarity. I have a lot of understanding. So I’m just ready to apply that to the basketball court.”
Anthony believes now with Jackson installed as team President and Derek Fisher in as the new head coach, Anthony is positive the Knickerbockers will be much better than last season, which should result in a playoff berth.
“I will tell you we will have a better season than last year,” Anthony said. “I can tell you for sure that we will have a much better season than we had last year.”
“I think for me I’m coming more from a confidence standpoint of knowing the pain and what I endured last year and what we felt as a team , we don’t want to go down that lane no more, we don’t want to feel that pain again. I think everybody is just ready to take that next step and make that change. It’s a new level of focus now.
Anthony indicated that he’s been at the training facility for the last “three weeks” trying to learn the team’s new triangle offense and wants it known that he’s all in.
“I want to embrace what Phil and what Derek are doing,” he said. “I want them to know that I’m in. I’m embracing this challenge. I know from being a student of the game and from watching that it will work. It takes time, nothing happens overnight but it will work. I got a good glimpse of what the system can be. And it’s fun. The information that I have gotten from them guys, I’m just taking that in, sealing that into a bottle and applying that to my everyday game.
The Knickerbockers will now head to West Point, NY to begin their first day of training camp under the new regime.