This isn't like free agency, when many were unsure whether he would sign with the Knicks, Chicago Bulls or some dark horse like the Houston Rockets or Los Angeles Lakers. This is post-decision Anthony, seemingly trying to put how talented the Knicks are into clear, coherent context.
The latest has him guaranteeing a postseason berth months after the Knicks won 37 games, finished ninth in the Eastern Conference and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2010.
“Yeah, I think so for sure," he said when asked if the Knicks would return to the playoffs next year, per the New York Post's Fred Kerber. "Absolutely.”
That's the spirit, Anthony. Wax optimism. Use your new trimmed-down self to incite hope and echo sentiments you touched upon in July, when the ink on your new, $124 million contract was still fresh and you were looking to justify your free-agency decision without reciting the chorus to The O'Jays' "For The Love of Money."
"I don't think we're that far away," he told ESPN.com's Jeff Goodman in late July. "People use 'rebuilding' too loosely."
All this optimism is overwhelming.
Weeks ago, Anthony was considered a flight risk. Now he's parenting indisputable elation, his glass half full, his eyes fully focused on the bright side.
For the most part, anyway.
Sandwiched between Anthony's arising ambition was a cold, hard dose of pessimism.
Party-pooper or realist?
Roll with the latter. Not enough changes have been made to the Knicks roster for it to be labeled a legitimate title contender.
Clinching a playoff berth is not out of the question, though. The Knicks have a new coach in Derek Fisher, a new, triangular-shaped system to run and a leaner Anthony who MSG Networks' Alan Hahn says is now built for 3-spot duty:
Here's a look at just how slender the usually bulky Anthony is:
Marc Berman of the New York Post also dropped juicy details on Anthony's offseason regimen:
According to a source, the Harris camp was told Anthony was working out three times a day, doing basketball drills, agility drills, weights and yoga.
With regard to his diet, Anthony has followed LeBron James’ lead in a mostly no-carb diet. But Anthony has a history of crash diets and 'fasting.'
Whatever Anthony is doing—aerial yoga in conjunction with dumbbell curls?—it's working. He looks great. Judging by his most recent comments, he feels great, too—both about himself and the Knicks' postseason chances next season.
And who can blame him?
Aside from everything else, the Knicks still play in the not-so-loaded Eastern Conference, where the line between lottery team and playoff contender blurs significantly beyond Chicago and Cleveland.
Next year doesn't have to repeat itself in New York. The Knicks can make the playoffs.
If Anthony's word is gospel, they will make the playoffs.
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