Carmelo down 12 pounds as he readies for Olympics

Carmelo Anthony, right, poses with a wax figure

Carmelo Anthony, right, poses with a wax figure of himself at Madame Tussauds in New York. (June 26, 2012) (Credit: AP)

Carmelo Anthony was immortalized in wax in a Knicks' uniform at Madame Tussauds in Manhattan Tuesday. The next thing Anthony wants is to be immortalized as a New York sports hero by leading the Knicks to a championship.

Anthony has won just one game in two playoff appearances with the Knicks. But after seeing his good friend LeBron James lead the Heat to the title, Anthony said he's "extra motivated" to win a ring. "I believe my time is coming," Anthony said. "I'm a big believer in that. Whether it's this year or next year, I truly believe that my time is coming. We're going to keep playing for that."

Anthony has been playing a lot lately as he's preparing for the Olympic team training camp that starts July 6 in Las Vegas. He looked trimmer and said he weighs about 239 pounds, or 12 pounds less than during this past season.

Last season, coach Mike Woodson said Anthony has to return to camp in better shape. Woodson and members of the Knicks' coaching and training staff visited Anthony in Los Angeles last week and apparently they liked what they saw.

"Right now, I exceeded their expectations," Anthony said. "When they saw me the other day, they were kind of shocked to see me down in weight. They're excited about how much hard work I'm putting in and the things I'm actually doing right now."

Anthony worked out with Knicks and Olympics teammate Tyson Chandler. The two of them, Woodson and Jeremy Lin had dinner in Los Angeles. "We're just trying to get that camaraderie right now and that family mentality and try to create a bond, not just on the court but off the court," Anthony said.

It's a step in the right direction. But it might be more important for Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire to develop chemistry and camaraderie on and off the court.

The Knicks also have to strengthen their roster. Among the players they could pursue in free agency are guards Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Raymond Felton, Ray Allen, O.J. Mayo and forward Lamar Odom.

Smith a free agent. As expected, J.R. Smith declined the $2.4-million option for next season and will become a free agent. The Knicks hope to re-sign Smith to a one-year deal for a little more than $2.8 million.

The Dolan family owns controlling interests in the Knicks, Madison Square Garden and Cablevision. Cablevision owns Newsday.

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