Melo at ease entering third year in New York

Carmelo Anthony's been through plenty in his first year and a half in New York.

First, there was the drama surrounding his trade from Denver. Then, there was Mike D'Antoni's firing. Along the way, there were a few injuries, a couple playoff appearances, the rise and fall of Linsanity, plenty of cheers and plenty of boos.

The works.

Now, as Anthony enters his third season in New York, he seems at ease with life in New York.

He said recently that he knows what to expect now, knows what life as one of the premier sports stars in the Big Apple is all about.

"I feel like I've got my feet wet now. My feet are underneath me," Anthony said after the Knicks' sixth and final preseason game Wednesday. "I'm settled in the city, on the team, within the organization."

Anthony's spoken repeatedly about having a singular focus this season: on basketball and nothing else.

That hasn't always been the case during his Knicks tenure. First, he had to deal with the ugly insinuation that he forced his way out of Denver.

Then he had to deal with the difficulty of falling short of expectations in a town that expects excellence.

There were plenty of times over the last 18 months when Anthony was heavily criticized for his words or his play. And he's admitted that he'd heard that criticism.

"I'm human," he's said.

But he insists he won't let it bother him this season.

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

Anthony's also talked about a willingness to score less and trust his teammates more -- the result of his experience in London with Team USA.

Having veteran point guards such as Ray Felton and Jason Kidd should make life a bit easier on Anthony, though he'll need to carry the load early on with Amar'e Stoudemire expected to miss the first week of the regular season.

That's an issue for another day, though. Right now, the important thing for Anthony is that he feels settled in his role as leader of the Knicks. He says all of the outside noise this season will be just that -- noise.

"Now I can just focus solely on basketball," he said, "and not worry about everything else."

Question: What are your expectations for Anthony this year? Do you feel more confidant in him now that he's 'settled' in NYC?

Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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