LAS VEGAS -- More than two months later, losing in the first round of the playoffs still bothers Tyson Chandler. It can't be easy for him to see LeBron James' smiling face every day, either.
But the Knicks center is putting that frustration aside for now. Chandler's main concern is winning the gold medal in London this summer with James. After the Olympics, Chandler and Carmelo Anthony will turn their attention to trying to beat James and the Heat and getting the Knicks deeper into the postseason.
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"Just being here and seeing all the players on this team who I got to compete with next year, these players are amazing," Chandler said after the U.S. team practiced Sunday. "It's motivation for myself. It's motivation for Carmelo when we get back to our team that we got to raise the stakes. Things have to become more important and things have to become more serious and we have to make a true run at it."
Chandler, who was acquired just before training camp, said last season was difficult because the Knicks struggled to develop chemistry because of the condensed season and limited practice schedule, a mid-March coaching change and injuries.
But after finishing seventh in the East and falling in five games to the eventual NBA champion Heat, the Knicks will have no excuses next season. They should have their team in place, a full training camp to learn Mike Woodson's system and a chance to establish much-needed chemistry.
"We're going to have time to get ourselves together," Anthony said. "We're going to have a training camp now. Just talking to guys, the focus that we have in the offseason is at an all-time high. Guys are ready. We look at last season, and that's going to be in the back of our minds."
The Knicks know they have to be a win-now team because of all the wear-and-tear on the bodies of Anthony, Chandler and Amar'e Stoudemire. So this offseason, the Knicks have pursued many experienced veteran free agents.
The Knicks still are interested in two-way guard Randy Foye, but they might have to see how things pan out with Camby because the pieces they would use in a sign-and-trade for him might be some of the same in a potential Foye deal.
"I love to see the organization going after everybody that we can go after," Anthony said. "The ultimate goal is to try to win. We have to do what we have to do to try to win. They've been very aggressive this offseason thus far. Hopefully, we can continue to be very aggressive."
The Knicks haven't reached the conference semifinals since 2000, and before winning Game 4 against Miami this season, the Knicks had dropped an NBA-record 13 straight postseason games dating to 2001. That's why seeing James' smiling face can't be easy for Chandler.
"As soon as we take off the jersey after the last game and we get back to our teams, they become my competitors again," Chandler said. "Right now, I have the utmost respect and love for them because they're my teammates."
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