Melo, Amare determined to make it work

Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony hope there are less distractions during the upcoming season. Al Bello/Getty Images

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- This was in mid-September, around the time some of the Knicks returned to Greenburgh for voluntary workouts.

Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire were in the gym, along with most of the other players on the Knicks roster.

After one workout, Anthony approached Stoudemire to talk about the upcoming season.

"We'd been playing, working out together and we were just talking. (I said), 'This year it's gotta be us,'" Anthony said. "We've got to be a tight-knit group. We don't want distractions. We're not going to allow distractions."

Last season was full of distractions, the players say. First, there was the lockout. Then, the emergence of Jeremy Lin, followed by the death of Stoudemire's brother and the mid-season coaching change.

Also, there was the continued criticism from pundits, saying that Anthony and Stoudemire can't play together. That idea bothered the two superstars. This season, Anthony says, they're not going to pay any attention to it.

"That’s something we would not allow to come into the locker room, come between us as players. We will be one tight group this season," Anthony said.

Of course, one way to make all of the talking stop is to win together. That's been one of the main problems with the Anthony-Stoudemire pairing thus far.

Last season, the Knicks won just 46 percent of their games when both Anthony and Stoudemire were in the lineup.

One issue with the Anthony-Stoudemire pairing that scouts mention is that both players like to operate between the mid-post and the elbow. Also, Anthony excels in isolation, while Stoudemire thrives in up-tempo sets that are pick-and-roll heavy.

Despite the seemingly contrasting styles, coach Mike Woodson has vowed to make things work with his two stars.

"It’s going to be my job to make sure that it works and I feel pretty good about those two guys being on the floor, along with Tyson (Chandler) and the rest of the supporting cast," the coach said.

The Knicks enter the season in win-now mode. They've surrounded Anthony and Stoudemire with veterans in an attempt to lighten the burden on both players.

Still, it's clear that the Knicks will go as far as Stoudemire and Anthony can take them.

"I think this year will be a great test for us to see if we can get it going," Stoudemire said. "We had a full training camp. We've got a coaching staff and all the players (in place) ... so it should be a good year for us."