LAS VEGAS - Carmelo Anthony's decision to re-sign has Derek Fisher feeling confident that the Knicks will return to the playoffs this season and eventually become a champion.
For the Knicks to change that dramatically, though, it's up to Phil Jackson to surround Anthony with the right players.
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"In my opinion, based on our roster and the things we're going to do and who we're going to become, we can compete for playing in the playoffs and for a championship in the Eastern Conference," Fisher said Monday. "When that happens, and putting dates on it and how, that's not my job.
" . . . I believe in the group of guys that we have. Even if nothing else changes, we're good enough to be a playoff team . . . But we obviously have to go out on the floor and prove it."
The Knicks went 37-45 last season and missed the postseason in a weak conference but have improved, acquiring Jose Calderon and drafting Cleanthony Early. They also have an offensive system -- the triangle -- that has been effective for Jackson and Fisher. Jackson has won 11 NBA titles and Fisher played on five of those teams.
Fisher thinks Anthony, who will sign a five-year deal for more than $120 million, will be successful in the triangle if he fully trusts it and his teammates. Fisher believes he will.
"What I've most thought about is how much easier the game will be for him," Fisher said. "We won't just give him the ball and say 'save the day.' We'll utilize our [power forward], we'll utilize our offense, we'll utilize he and the guys around him to be successful on the offensive end and build trust, build chemistry and build a fun way to play for guys so that our defense is better.
"That's what he wants, in the conversations I've had with him. He doesn't want just the basketball and for us to say 'save the day.' He wants to be in an environment where everybody's effective. He wants a balanced basketball team, and that's what we need to build."
Jackson has said the Knicks will spend wisely the rest of this offseason, but they need to make some trades to free up the logjam on the perimeter. He wants to add another big man.
Next summer, they will have enough room under the cap to sign a star-caliber free agent and perhaps become the title contender Fisher believes they can be. Anthony took a little less than a maximum contract to give the Knicks more flexibility.
Fisher added: "The toughest part for him was is the roster going to be competitive enough to win because he wants to win. He's a winner. He's won a championship at the college level. He's only missed the playoffs [once] in his career. That's who we want to be. That's who I've always been, and that's not going to change now that I'm a coach -- eating, sleeping, dreaming about winning.
"At the end of the day, it's the best team that ultimately wins the championship. We hope to be there one day, but right now, we have to start at the beginning, and that's becoming a team."
High on Bargnani.
During an in-game interview with MSG Network, Jackson said maligned Andrea Bargnani is "overlooked." He expects him to have a good season after his first season as a Knick ended in January with an elbow injury.
"We think he's going to really do well in the system we have," Jackson said. "We have a couple of guards he likes to play with, Jose and Pablo [Prigioni]. I think he's going to be a surprise and a pleasant one for our fans."
Jeremy Tyler's 19 points and Tim Hardaway Jr.'s 17 led the Knicks (3-0) past the Patrick Ewing-coached Charlotte Hornets, 95-72.
Nets re-sign Anderson.
The Nets have agreed to terms on a two-year deal worth a reported $2.6 million with forward Alan Anderson, according to his agency. Anderson, 31, appeared in 78 games for the Nets this past season and averaged 7.2 points.