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Carmelo Anthony says he influenced LeBron James' decision to return to Cleveland

LeBron James of the Miami Heat greets Carmelo

LeBron James of the Miami Heat greets Carmelo Anthony of the Knicks prior to the opening tipoff of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on May 6, 2012 at Madison Square Garden. Credit: Getty Images / Jeff Zelevansky

Carmelo Anthony believes he contributed to LeBron James taking his talents back to Cleveland.

In an interview with Michael Strahan for Adweek, Anthony said what he experienced when he became a Knick in 2011 factored into James returning to the Cavaliers. This was in response to Strahan asking Anthony whether James going home affected his decision to re-sign with the Knicks.

"Honestly, I think it was the other way around," said Anthony, who is close friends with James. "When I came back home to New York, I'm pretty sure he looked at that moment and saw that was a very special moment and he had an opportunity to go back home himself and regain that love with those fans that kind of disowned him a couple of years ago.

"So he's at peace now. You could tell he's at peace."

James was hated in Cleveland after leaving for Miami four years ago. Fans burned his jerseys and treated him as if he was their mortal enemy. But all is forgiven now. James' return and the acquisition of Kevin Love have Ohio fans thinking the Cavs have a shot at an NBA title.

James and the Cavaliers open the regular season Oct. 30 in Cleveland against the Knicks.

Anthony never has been as loved or as hated in New York. But he gets much of the blame for the Knicks winning just one playoff series since his arrival. And the pressure will be on Anthony more than ever this season after signing a five-year, $124-million deal in July.

Anthony will be expected to lead the Knicks to the playoffs and also help attract star free agents next summer and in 2016. The Knicks missed out on the postseason last year and haven't won a title since 1973, when team president Phil Jackson was a key player.

"I think I thrive on the pressure," Anthony said. "I welcome the pressure. I live for it."

In the Adweek interview, Anthony said New York is the toughest place to play "in the world," called it "the belly of the beast" and said there's negativity "all the time." But Anthony said he doesn't pay attention to it.

Notes & quotes: The Knicks signed 6-2 guard Langston Galloway (Saint Joseph's) and 6-10 forward Travis Wear (UCLA) to their training camp roster. The Knicks already have 15 players with guaranteed contracts . . . The D-League's Westchester Knicks will play their inaugural home game Nov. 19 against the Canton Charge. They open the season Nov. 16 at Oklahoma City.

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