By: Randy Cruz (@cruzr83)
The New York Knicks held their 2013 media day at their practice facility in Tarrytown, NY.
New President and General Manager of the Knicks, Steve Mills. started out media answering questions regarding his role, Mike Woodson's contract being exercised for the 2014-2015 season, as well as Carmelo Anthony's future with the Knicks.
"I had an opportunity to spend a lot of time with Woodson, was very happy to see what he was able to do with the team and first thing I decided to do was exercise the option on his contract and that's something we're proud to announce today."
Mills on Carmelo's future with NY: "We are fortunate to have a player like Carmelo Anthony on our roster. He's one of those superstar players that don't come around very often and the things he has done to make this team successful and represent this city is something very important and while it's premature in the process, we've made it clear that we have every intention of making Carmelo a Knick for a long time to come."
Woodson on the team exercising his option: "I'm very excited about Mr. Dolan and Steve Mills giving me an opportunity to come back another year. It's never been about me in terms of what I do -- it's strictly about the team and what we're trying to pursure here as a team. I'm very grateful that they picked my option up."
Mike Woodson led the Knicks to a Atlantic Division title, first time they've won their division since 1994, second seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, 50+ wins and bringing a winning environment back to Madison Square Garden.
The East did get better on the offseason, with Miami, Indiana, Brooklyn and Chicago making moves, and Woodson knows that it'll be a dog fight for the top four spots in the conference to obtain home court advantage, "We're trying to secure one of the top four spots and go from there," Woodson said.
Regarding Carmelo playing the power forward more often this season, or maybe even less often with the addition of Andrea Barganani from Toronto, Woodson said, "Make no mistake about it since I've been here Melo has been pretty good at the four." So it's pretty much a given that Melo will play power forward more often this upcoming season.
JR Smith did praise Mike Woodson on being the coach for the Knicks. "Coach Woodson is by far the best coach I've ever had," Smith said.
For Knicks fans that were wondering about the health of Carmelo Anthony, as he dealt with injuries last season, Carmelo summed it up with basically one line, "I feel great. I'm ready to rock."
Carmelo elaborated on last season's success and heading into the 2013-2014 campaign, "We thought last year was a successful season due to what we were able to achieve and the goals that were set. 50 plus wins, division title. Not just making the playoffs but making a run in the playoffs. I want us to go out there and play ball and take it one day at a time. If we're all having fun then it'll be a successful season. For us the key thing is staying healthy."
Amar'e Stoudemire, the 6'10 power forward, did speak to the media briefly, regarding his recent minor knee surgery, as well as role this upcoming season. Stoudemire did sound optimistic in being a piece to the Knicks' puzzle this season. "My goal is to be ready for training camp", he said. "Unfortunately my career has been somewhat tainted by injuries, but my career isn't over."
Stoudemire is in year four of a 5-year, $100 million contract with the Knicks and several injuries have haunted the 6x All-Star. If Stoudemire can get through training camp and the season without injury, then that is a vital step in the Knicks' chances to go far in the playoffs.
If the Knicks can stay healthy, there's no reason why this team can't again be a top four team in the Eastern Conference. With the additions of Andrea Bargnani, Metta World Peace, Beno Udrih and Tim Hardaway, Jr., the Knicks add outside shooting, defense, low post scoring and strong decision making.
Some have them in the top four in the East, some have them on the outside looking in. The East will be a tough race all throughout the season, as well as the Atlantic Division (amongst two teams) with Brooklyn making their splash this summer.
If I had to pick today, my choice would be the Knicks to win the Atlantic Division. Where they'll finish in the top 5 in the East? I'll answer that later on.