Carmelo Anthony says Knicks will compete for championship

WEST POINT, N.Y. -- Don't tell Carmelo Anthony the New York Knicks aren't competing for a title this season.

"S---, we're competing. People might not believe that, but we're definitely competing for that," Anthony said after training camp practice on Wednesday. "That's always going to be the goal. Whether we get there or not depends on us and what we're doing. That's always our big-picture goal."

The Knicks won a franchise-low 17 games in 2014-15. Few expect New York to be in the running for the NBA championship this season.

Seven months after knee surgery, Anthony is back on the court and healthy. But he's the lone star on the Knicks' roster.

Team president Phil Jackson signed Robin Lopez, Arron Afflalo, Kevin Seraphin, Kyle O'Quinn, Sasha Vujacic and Derrick Williams in free agency but didn't land any of the top stars on the market.

Jackson also selected Kristaps Porzingis and Jerian Grant in the first round of the draft in June.

Given the personnel on the roster, expectations for the Knicks are not high.

On Tuesday, the Westgate Las Vegas Sports SuperBook listed the Knicks' over/under win total at 31.5. New York's odds for winning a title are 200-1, according to Westgate.

Jackson and the rest of the Knicks have been hesitant to talk about specific expectations for the coming season.

But second-year coach Derek Fisher believes the Knicks may surprise those who expect them struggle in 2015-16.

"We think that our group, as we figure some things out, will be more competitive than maybe what people think," Fisher said after the Knicks' practice Wednesday morning. "Rebuilding doesn't necessarily mean we're not trying to win right now."

Based on recent history, the Knicks face long odds to make the playoffs this season.

Since 1983-84, 31 teams have won 17 or fewer games (or the equivalent, based on winning percentages, for lockout seasons). Seventeen of those teams won 25 or fewer games the next season (or the equivalent, based on winning percentages, in lockout seasons), according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Still, Anthony's optimism about the season and the direction of the team is a welcome sign for the franchise.

The Knicks' struggles last season and their lackluster offseason led to speculation that Anthony, 31, would ask to be traded to a franchise that's closer to winning an NBA title. Anthony has a no-trade clause in his contract.

But the 13-year veteran has expressed confidence about the direction of the franchise several times over the past three days.

"That's just me," Anthony said. "It's hard for me to kind of lose my patience and get upset at something you pretty much can't control. The only thing I can control is what goes on out there on the basketball court. Everything else is out of my control."