Carmelo Anthony shook off a brief injury scare Monday to walk without a problem to his seat alongside Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler.
The New York Knicks’ new frontcourt looks good, but work remains to build around it.
Anthony thinks they’re off to a good start.
”The sky’s the limit for this team. I think the Knicks organization did a great job of just building a very unique frontcourt with Tyson and Amare,” said the All-Star forward, who hyperextended his left knee during practice but could return Tuesday.
”We’re ready to take on the challenges that’s there to come. Line them up, we’re ready to play, we will be ready to play.”
Not quite yet. The Knicks still have only 12 players, one below the minimum NBA roster. Interim general manager Glen Grunwald confirmed the team’s interest in one possible addition, former Knicks guard Jamal Crawford.
”Certainly we’d love to have Jamal back here, but we’ll see where that goes,” Grunwald said during the team’s media day. ”That’s a situation that’s still developing.”
The Knicks traded Crawford, their former leading scorer and a popular teammate, to Golden State in November 2008 to begin their process of clearing salary cap space for the summer of 2010.
He went on to Atlanta, where he won the NBA’s sixth man award two seasons ago, and is now one of the top free agent guards available.
But their series of moves to afford Chandler left the Knicks with only the new exception, worth $2.5 annually for a maximum of two years, for teams that use room under the salary cap, or veteran’s minimum contracts, so they may need to find a trade to bring Crawford back.
Grunwald also said the Knicks had reached an agreement in principle with center Jerome Jordan, a 2010 second-round pick of the Milwaukee Bucks whose rights the Knicks had acquired. He had been playing in Slovenia, and Grunwald said Jordan would be in camp in the next few days after his buyout was complete.
Grunwald, the Knicks’ senior vice president of basketball operations, inherited the GM role on an interim basis after Donnie Walsh opted not to return in June. He quickly addressed the Knicks’ biggest need with the surprising acquisition of the 7-foot-1 Chandler from the NBA champion Dallas Mavericks in a sign-and-trade.
It was previously believed that the Knicks would only offer one-year deals this offseason and aim for the summer of 2012, when Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Deron Williams could be free agents.
Instead, Grunwald decided that the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement would allow the Knicks to offer maximum contracts this summer, so they should focus on adding to the team now.
That’s given coach Mike D’Antoni, in the final year of his four-year contract, reason to think the Knicks can think about winning now instead of the tinkering that has occurred in his first three years.
”Everybody knows how difficult that is, but that’s our goal. Our goal is to win a championship without a doubt,” he said. ”Whether it’s this year, next year or the year after, this core group of guys needs to win a championship before they get too old and we’ll see if that can happen.”
Notes: Anthony appeared to be hurt when he banged into another player while playing defense during practice. He said his foot slipped when he tried to plant, and he fell to the court and stayed down for a brief period before walking to the training room. The Knicks announced afterward his return would be day to day, but Anthony quickly said he was fine. ”I think he went out just to ice it down,” D’Antoni said. ”Why risk it? There’s really no risk but why not wait until tomorrow.” The Knicks were having a full practice for only the second time after they were short-handed the first two days of training camp. Their preseason opener is Saturday at New Jersey.