Melo says Bargnani trade 'was a steal'

NEW YORK -- The jury is still out the the New York Knicks' trade for Andrea Bargnani. But Carmelo Anthony is in favor of it.

"I thought that was a steal," Anthony said Saturday at his annual camp, held at Queens College. "I hate to lose [Marcus] Camby and [Steve] Novak, but you get something like that back in return, it's kind of a win-win situation."

Anthony quickly noted that Bargnani, who fell out of favor in with the Toronto Raptors, needed to play "with a chip on his shoulder" this season.

"Hopefully, Bargnani's going to come in and prove something, come in with a chip on his shoulder and be ready to rock," he said.

The Knicks included Camby, Novak, two second-round picks and a first-round pick in 2016 to land Bargnani.

Some felt that was too steep a price to pay for a player who averaged just 12.7 points on 40 percent shooting last season and missed 47 games due mostly to elbow injuries.

But Anthony applauded the move. Bargnani, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 draft and just 27 years old, averaged 21.4 points per game in 2010-11.

Anthony also thinks Metta World Peace, whom the Knicks signed as a free agent after the Los Angeles Lakers exercised the amnesty clause on his contract, will help New York on both ends of the floor.

"To have him on our team right now adds more toughness to our team, some more defensive presence," Anthony said of World Peace. "And he also can be a threat on the offensive end, so you have to respect that."

World Peace averaged 12.4 points on 40 percent shooting and pulled down five rebounds per game last season.

Playing Anthony and World Peace at the same could present an interesting dynamic for the Knicks.

World Peace, at 6-foot-7 and 260 pounds, can defend either power forwards and small forwards. So with him on the floor, Anthony could defend the weaker offensive player of the two positions and save some energy on the defensive end.

No worries about J.R., East: J.R. Smith is expected to be out until at least the middle of training camp due to surgery on his left patellar tendon and meniscus. Anthony, who had similar surgery in the summer of 2011, says he is confident that Smith can come back without issue.

"From what I know and what I hear, it's not that serious," he said.

He also said he wasn't concerned about the roster upgrades Brooklyn, Indiana and Chicago made in the offseason.

"The only thing I can worry about is my team. I can't worry about them other teams," he said.

Can we call him Ron? Anthony smiled when talking about World Peace.

"It's hard for me to call him Metta," he said.

So what will Anthony call the player formerly known as Ron Artest?

"I don't know. I have no idea yet," he said.

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