Carmelo Anthony says Andrea Bargnani was a steal for Knicks

Carmelo Anthony of the Knicks speaks to the

Carmelo Anthony of the Knicks speaks to the media after spending time with kids at his Youth Basketball Camp. (Aug. 3, 2013) (Credit: Errol Anderson)

Carmelo Anthony hopes newly acquired Knick Andrea Bargnani comes into the season with a new attitude and renewed fire.

Speaking at his basketball camp at Queens College Saturday, Anthony lamented losing key teammates from last season's 54-28 squad but said getting Bargnani was a "steal." He's convinced the Knicks will be better.

"I hate to lose [Steve] Novak and [Marcus] Camby,'' he said, "but when you get someone like [Bargnani] in return, it's kind of a win-win situation."

The 7-foot forward, the No. 1 overall pick of the Toronto Raptors in 2006, averaged 12.7 points and 3.7 rebounds last season. It was his lowest point total since he averaged 10.2 points per game in 2007-08. "Hopefully, Bargnani will want to come in and prove something, come in with a chip on his shoulder and be ready to rock," Anthony said.

He also was pleased with the acquisition of veteran forward Metta World Peace. Anthony joked that he still can't get used to calling him Metta, but he's happy to be his teammate. "To have him on our team right now brings some more toughness to our team and another defensive presence," Anthony said.

For the new acquisitions to mean anything, though, the Knicks will need Anthony to be at or near 100 percent. The 6-8 forward, who suffered a partially torn labrum in his left shoulder late last season, took time off earlier this summer to rest. Anthony said the shoulder, which didn't require surgery, "feels great." He expects to be ready to go when camp starts.

Anthony also was asked Saturday about his contract status. The former Syracuse standout, who can opt out of his contract after this season, declined to discuss the topic with reporters.

"As far as ruling anything out, I haven't thought about anything beyond today," he said. "My mind is not thinking about next offseason right now . . . When that time comes, I'll deal with that. It's not something I'm thinking about right now.''

Anthony was more focused on getting a positive message across to the several hundred children who attended his camp.

"This is the easy part, doing a basketball camp," Anthony said. "I think it's just more than just a basketball camp. It gives the kids an opportunity to look forward to doing something in the summertime."

Anthony said he didn't attend any basketball camps growing up and never had a celebrity athlete come back to his neighborhood to speak.

"Nowadays it's kind of hard to get kids out the house," he said. 'They do the video games and the technology and things like that. So for me to be able to do a basketball camp was a no- brainer."

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