There were a lot of changes in New York over the summer. Players have left, new players have joined. Coaches have left and new coaches have joined. However Carmelo Anthony has stayed, much to the joy of Knicks fans.
Melo signed five-year $124 million contract this summer after strong rumors that he would leave after the woeful season the Knicks endured last time out. He had interest and offers from the likes of Chicago, Houston and the Lakers but chose to stay in New York.
At the annual Knicks media day today, Melo faced the press and he said all the right things. He discussed plenty of different topics, including his reasons for staying, his weight loss and his excitement for the season ahead amidst all of the off season changes.
Ready to go deep into the playoffs
Of those off season changes, the biggest comes in the shape of the new triangle offense that Phil Jackson has brought to New York. However Melo said that the team 'will be patient' and they are ready for challenge that the new season holds:
"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 than 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."
With a new offensive system in New York, Melo sought advice from some of the greats who have played in the system under Jackson. Those greats included Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Scottie Pippen and Melo came away from those chats with a new found excitement about the new system:
"I got a good glimpse of what the system can be. And it's fun," Anthony said. "The information that I've gotten from them guys, I'm just taking that in, sealing that into a bottle and applying that to my everyday game."
Buzz in New York
Anthony also adhered to the buzz that is surrounding the Knicks facility at the moment, and that he believes this season will be much different, with New York being there till the end:
"You can just walk around the building and feel that energy. In the offseason, I felt that energy. You could just see that everybody is rejuvenated again. Everybody wants to win. Everybody wants to do what's right to help this team be successful. At the end of the day, I believe that we will be there at the end. We have a lot of work to do. But if we're all in this together I believe we will be there."
In the offseason Melo has noticeably slimmed down, too much so for some people, but he insists that his new, lighter frame will help on the court:
"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."
Retaining Carmelo was Jackson's number one priority over the summer and he, the fans and the players were thrilled that he convinced Melo to buy into the new system and sign the on the dotted line.
"Carmelo, he's one of the best players in this league," said Jose Calderon, a new addition from Dallas. "He can do everything…But we cannot let him just do everything."
So why did Anthony choose to remain in New York?
Melo had serious offers on the table. The Bulls and the Lakers thought that they had a great chance with Anthony supposedly 'seriously considering' their offers, but he re-signed in New York as a commitment to his teammates and to show he was all in on the new and improved dynamic.
He also admitted that, had he gone elsewhere, he maybe would have a better shot at silverware this year but he reiterated that he and his teammates were going to be patient and a playoff run is still realistic:
"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 … From a basketball standpoint, maybe it wouldn't have been the greatest thing to do. But for me personally, I wouldn't have felt right with myself knowing that I wanted to come here, I kind of forced my way to New York. And I have some unfinished business to take care of. I wouldn't have felt right from a personal standpoint, just getting up and leaving like that."