Knicks

Derek Fisher Says Knicks Are Playoff-Caliber Club

Derek Fisher coaches a summer league game against the Dallas Mavericks on July 11, 2014 at the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

Derek Fisher coaches a summer league game against the Dallas Mavericks on July 11, 2014 at the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Derek Fisher thinks the New York Knicks can do something special in his rookie season as head coach.

Fisher believes in his club, especially now with Carmelo Anthony back in the mix. Melo announced over the weekend that he would be returning to the Knicks.

“Even if nothing else changes, we’re good enough to be a playoff team,” Fisher said Monday, according to Newsday. “But we obviously have to go out on the floor and prove it.”

Knicks president Phil Jackson had to sell Anthony on the idea that the Knicks could be competitive. He moved quickly to rebuild a team that finished a disappointing 37-45 last season, when the superstar forward missed the playoffs for the first time in his career.

Before the free-agency period even started, the Knicks traded center Tyson Chandler and guard Raymond Felton to the Dallas Mavericks for guards Jose Calderon, Shane Larkin and Wayne Ellington, center Samuel Dalembert and a pair of second-round draft picks. The team then selected forward Cleanthony Early out of Wichita State.

The Knicks are expected to have enough cap space to make a run at a big-time free agent in 2015.

“In my opinion, based on our roster and the things we’re going to do and who we’re going to become, we can compete for playing in the playoffs and for a championship in the Eastern Conference,” Fisher said. “When that happens, and putting dates on it and how, that’s not my job.”

Fisher, who is expected to implement Jackson’s famed triangle offense, said Anthony will have some much-needed help on the court.

“What I’ve most thought about is how much easier the game will be for him,” Fisher said. “We won’t just give him the ball and say ‘save the day.’ … He wants to be in an environment where everybody’s effective. He wants a balanced basketball team, and that’s what we need to build.”

Jackson was reportedly also shopping Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani in hopes of creating more cap space this offseason. On Monday, he called the latter “overlooked.”

“We think he’s going to really do well in the system we have,” Jackson said of Bargnani during an interview on MSG Network, according to Newsday. “We have a couple of guards he likes to play with, Jose and Pablo (Prigioni). I think he’s going to be a surprise and a pleasant one for our fans.”

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