Denver Nuggets' center Marcus Camby, looks on during a free...

Denver Nuggets' center Marcus Camby, looks on during a free throw from the Milwaukee Bucks in the second half. (Feb. 23, 2008) Credit: AP

LAS VEGAS -- Mike Woodson said the Knicks aren't getting older, they're getting better.

Jason Kidd, 39, Marcus Camby, 38, and Argentine point guard Pablo Prigioni, 35, will join a Knicks' nucleus of Carmelo Anthony, 28, and Tyson Chandler and Amar'e Stoudemire -- both of whom turn 30 in the fall. But Woodson doesn't want to hear the Knicks are old.

"You could say that about Miami," he said. "You can say that about Boston. But I haven't seen a young team win an NBA title in the last 10, 15 years . . . It's veteran guys who win the NBA title."

Every team is chasing the Heat, but the Nets have improved and the Pacers and Celtics should remain near the top of the Eastern Conference. The Knicks finished seventh and lost in the first round to the eventual champion Heat, but expect a longer playoff run next season.

"Everybody's trying to jockey and get better as a ballclub," Woodson said. "We definitely have to do the same thing. Last year was a taste of good basketball again in New York. We don't want to leave that behind us. We want to build on that. The only way you can do that is add quality pieces that can complete the puzzle that can help you win at a high level."

J.R. Smith signed a two-year, $5.6 million deal. The second year is a team option. To acquire Camby, the Knicks sent Josh Harrellson, Toney Douglas, Jerome Jordan and two second-round picks to Houston. Camby got a three-year deal -- the first two for $10 million is fully guaranteed.

Add Jeremy Lin, who Woodson said "absolutely" would be back, Steve Novak and newly signed James White and the Knicks should have a deep team. But they only have 11 players with guaranteed deals so they'll try to add more depth on the wing and insurance up front.

Woodson said the Knicks hadn't decided if they would match the three-year, $18.7 million offer sheet Toronto gave Landry Fields, but it would be surprising if they did.

"It's been a good free agency for us," Woodson said. "I like the direction of where we are as we stand today and where we're headed."

The Dolan family owns controlling interests in the Knicks, Madison

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