GREENBURGH, N.Y. - Carmelo Anthony is slimmed down, and his confidence and enthusiasm are way up.
During his Media Day news conference on Monday, Anthony said there is a different "energy" around the Knicks than in years past. He expressed supreme belief in team president Phil Jackson and first-time coach Derek Fisher. He also assured that he will embrace their offensive system and plan to turn the Knicks into a contender.
Anthony also acknowledged that he could have been in a better position to win this season if he signed with another team over the summer. But Anthony, who inked a five-year, $124-million deal, said he had "unfinished business."
"I made a commitment to the Knicks organization," Anthony said. "I made a commitment to Derek Fisher, Phil Jackson. I also made a commitment to my teammates. That right there really shows you that it wasn't all about just running and jumping ship and trying to get something in the immediate future. I'm willing to be patient. Now how long [am] I willing to be patient? I can't tell you that. But I'm willing to take risks.
"I kind of forced my way to New York. And I have some unfinished business to take care of. I wouldn't have felt right from a personal standpoint, just getting up and leaving like that."
Anthony ultimately spurned the Bulls and Rockets for a team he believes can build something starting with Tuesday's first practice at the U.S. Military Academy.
Driven by last season's failure, when the Knicks finished 37-45 and missed the playoffs, Anthony promised this year would be different, and there would be postseason basketball at the Garden.
"We don't want to go down that lane no more, we don't want to feel that pain again," Anthony said. "There's a new level of focus now. You could just see that everybody is rejuvenated again, everybody wants to win, everybody wants to do what's right to help this team be successful. At the end of the day I believe that we will be there at the end.
"I can't put any numbers [on it]. But I can tell you for sure that we will have a much better season than we had last year."
The Knicks have undergone a face-lift, bringing in seven new players, but the biggest changes are at president and coach.
Jackson and Fisher have won a total of 18 championships, five of them together with the Lakers using the triangle offense. They've brought that system to the Knicks, causing many to question whether Anthony will be a more willing passer so his teammates stay involved.
Anthony said he spoke to Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Kobe Bryant about the triangle, and pledged that he's all in.
"I think this new situation, new system, it's going to enhance my game, it's going to enhance my teammates' game and as a whole we're going to be successful," Anthony said. "I want to embrace what Phil and Derek are doing. I want them to know that I'm in, I'm embracing this challenge. I know from being a student of the game and watching and knowing the history that it will work.
"I'm excited about the opportunity that we have as a team, being with the new system, being with the new coaches. Overall I'm excited, man, and I feel happy again, I feel at ease. I have a lot of clarity and I'm in a good place and I can't wait to get going."
Notes & quotes: After needing to rehab the past two offseasons, Amar'e Stoudemire said it felt great to play basketball over the summer and come into camp healthy. He's expecting a big season and said he believes he can be effective in the triangle . . . Iman Shumpert said he wants to "raise my level of professionalism" this season. The Knicks have until Oct. 31 to extend Shumpert's rookie contract. When he was asked if they've had any talks, Shumpert said, "All I've been thinking about all summer is making the playoffs."