GREENBURGH, N.Y. - Carmelo Anthony admitted to "second-guessing" his decision to re-sign with the Knicks last summer. But now he's "anxious" to see what team president Phil Jackson will do this offseason to fix them and can't wait to get back on the court and "prove everybody wrong."
The day after the Knicks finished with a franchise-worst 17-65 record, Anthony expressed optimism about the future and put pressure squarely on his and Jackson's shoulders to right what went so wrong.
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"There's definitely hope," Anthony said Thursday. "This next season for me and for the organization and for Phil, this is where we earn our money. This is where it starts. We got to put our money where our mouths at."VoteKnicks 2016-17: Keep 'em or dump 'em?
Anthony addressed the media for the first time since the Feb. 15 All-Star Game at the Garden. He had season-ending surgery on his left knee four days later. He said he's ahead of schedule and will be back on the court in June.
Anthony expects to be "fully recovered and injury-free" when training camp begins and looks forward to proving that "this injury is not going to hinder anything that I'm capable of doing."
Anthony, who signed a five-year, $124-million contract last July, said it was a tough season mentally as well as physically as he wondered whether he made the wrong choice by re-upping.
"I try to keep myself from thinking like that," he said. "But as a human being, those thoughts definitely come into play. You sit down at night and you're thinking, 'Did I really make the right decision?' and just things like that.
"Not often did I think about that. There was one point in time this season where it was just cloudy and I didn't really have any clarity and I was second-guessing what I did and the decision I made. But after that, it was smooth sailing."
Anthony is excited about the offseason possibilities that await the Knicks. They will have a top-five draft pick and roughly $30 million for free agency. Anthony said he is willing to help recruit free agents and might call some players on his own.
"It's like you have so much good that can happen," he said, "but I still don't know what to expect this summer."
When asked what the Knicks need, Anthony said, "Players. I can't get no more specific than that. Just players. Good players."
He was being coy by design. He knows exactly whom he wants Jackson to pursue and has put together different lists.
"My office would probably look like a GM's office right now with all the names on the board and the different scenarios," Anthony said. "I like to kind of break stuff down and see who's available and who's not available and who fits and who don't fit and how we can get this person and that person. So yeah, I'm very in tune to that side of it."
The down time after surgery also gave Anthony plenty of time to watch the NCAA Tournament. He believes the draft class "is pretty powerful."
The Knicks have a 19.9-percent chance of getting the first overall pick. "I think you have to" consider trading the draft choice for a veteran, he said. But he added, "I think if we get the top pick, we take our chances with who we draft, regardless of who that is, and we build other pieces around that with the money that we have."
Pistons big man Greg Monroe is expected to be a main target. Many NBA insiders believe he will sign with the Knicks, but they have plenty of holes to fill.
The Knicks also want to be in play in the summer of 2016, when LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis can be free agents.
It's Jackson's job to fix this. He assembled the worst team in the Knicks' 69-season history, but Anthony still believes in him.
"Phil is a guy who you never know what's going to happen, you never know what he's thinking," Anthony said. "The moves that he made, once he started explaining to me behind closed doors about what was going on, his thought process behind everything, it started to make sense. So I don't second-guess any of that.
"[It] is kind of like a clean slate for us and for him. Now we really get a chance and he really gets a chance to put a stamp on what we want this organization to be about, what he wants this team to be about, what players he wants in here. This is the time he steps up to the plate."
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