Melo workouts draw Durant, J.R. & others

To get in playing shape before training camp, many NBA players head to warm weather cities like Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Miami to workout.

But last week, some of the biggest names in the NBA were training a couple blocks away from Madison Square Garden.

Carmelo Anthony hosted workouts at his gym in midtown Manhattan last week that included Kevin Durant, J.R. Smith, Lance Stephenson, Kemba Walker, Nerlens Noel and David Lee, among others.

The workouts also served as a mini-camp of sorts for the Knicks. Second-year guard Tim Hardaway Jr. was on hand, as was rookie Cleanthony Early. Ex-Knick Toure' Murry also played, as did Chris Smith, J.R.’s younger brother, who spent time with the Knicks last season.

So, how did some of the top players in the NBA end up in Anthony’s gym?

Knicks player development coach Chris Brickley was tasked with putting the workouts together. Brickley, a former Louisville player, has developed a strong rapport with many Knicks veterans, including Smith and Anthony, and is well-regarded for his work with players. So Anthony turned to Brickley to find enough NBA talent to put together a quality workout at his gym.

Brickley, with the help of player manager Tzvi Grossman, organized the roster for last week’s games, which featured several one on one battles between Anthony and Durant.

Anthony referenced the workouts last week when talking about how “antsy” he was for the season to start.

“You can feel it,” Anthony said. “I had a pro week this week at my gym and you can feel it everybody’s antsy, waiting to get back. I can’t wait.”

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