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Anthony Says He’s Ready for Basketball After Trade Rumor Frenzy

Carmelo Anthony says he’s ready to focus on basketball after putting to rest the questions about which side of the Hudson River he’d call his new home.

Anthony, a four-time All-Star, was traded from Denver to the New York Knicks yesterday after the Nuggets weighed competing offers from the Knicks and New Jersey Nets, who play in Newark, New Jersey.

“It was a zoo,” Anthony said today at a Madison Square Garden introductory news conference, hours before his Knicks debut against the Milwaukee Bucks. “Friday it was one thing, Saturday was another thing and Sunday it was something different. I’m just glad that it’s over with. My mind was everywhere.”

Thirteen players changed uniforms in the three-team trade that sent Anthony, 26, to the Knicks along with five-time All-Star Chauncey Billups.

Anthony, the sixth-leading scorer in the National Basketball Association this season at 25.2 points per game, joins fellow All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire, the league’s No. 3 scorer at 26.1 points per contest.

Anthony said he and Stoudemire will rely on each other to lead the team in scoring and rebounding in the final 28 regular-season games after New York gave up Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton and Timofey Mozgov in the deal.

“I’m pretty sure if any of you guys were GMs or owners, you would want me and Amar’e on the same team as well,” he said, drawing laughter. “I really don’t know who would turn that down.”

Top NBA Worth

The Knicks are sixth in the Eastern Conference with a 28-26 record, pursuing their first playoff berth since 2004 and first winning season since 2000-2001. The team is worth $655 million, the most in the NBA, according to Forbes magazine. Its $64 million in operating profit also leads the league.

The franchise is owned by Madison Square Garden Inc., which last year was spun off from New York-area cable television provider Cablevision Systems Corp.

After welcoming the new players to New York, Knicks owner James Dolan reiterated a statement made during negotiations that he, President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh and coach Mike D’Antoni all were on the same page, and that former Knicks coach and executive Isiah Thomas was not an adviser in the trade discussions.

“While Isiah Thomas is a very good friend of mine, he was not at all involved in this process,” Dolan said in the news conference. “He wasn’t advising me or telling me what to do in any way, and any reports that imply that he was doing that are simply untrue and fiction in somebody’s mind.”

Walsh’s Future

Dolan added that he and Walsh will discuss Walsh’s contract, which expires in June, after the trade deadline passes tomorrow.

Anthony said his move to the Knicks is a continuation of a rebirth of the franchise that began with Stoudemire’s signing in July.

“New York needed a moment like this,” said Anthony, a Brooklyn native. “When they acquired Amar’e it brought some excitement back to the city. Now, like Amar’e said, New York basketball is back. Will we win a championship this year? Who knows. That takes time. But at the end of the day, we’re moving in the right direction.”

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