- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 23, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - Carmelo Anthony was en route to the airport, headed for that unwanted return to Denver, when the call he waited for all season finally came.

The one that makes him a brighter star, and maybe the Knicks a bigger threat come playoff time.

“I think New York needed a moment like this,” Anthony said.

So did Anthony.

After waiting since September while the Nuggets worked to send him to the only destination he wanted, Anthony finally arrived as a Knick on Wednesday, telling a packed news conference he is the right kind of person to deal with New York.

“Is it going to be an easy transition for me? No. Is it going to be a lot of challenges? Yes. Is there going to be a lot of expectations? Yes,” he said. “But I’m willing to accept all of them challenges.”

The Knicks are betting on it, trading away four of their top players as part of a three-team, 13-player blockbuster that was completed Tuesday. All the players completed their physicals Wednesday, making Anthony eligible to make his Knicks debut against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Now wearing No. 7, Anthony took part in New York’s short workout and was in the starting lineup along with fellow newcomer Chauncey Billups.

“I felt like I was still coming in just for a shootaround on an opposing team,” Anthony said. “It didn’t really sink in yet _ the fact that I’m a New York Knick. I feel like I’m still dreaming right now.”

Anthony, who signed a three-year, $65 million extension before the deal was completed, will join fellow All-Star Amare Stoudemire in the frontcourt, giving the Knicks the potent duo they hoped they could assemble last summer in free agency.

Referring to the high price the Knicks paid, Anthony said, “I’m pretty sure if any of you guys were GMs or owners, you would want me and Amare on the same team as well. I don’t know who would turn that down.”

Anthony decided last summer he wanted out of Denver, the team that drafted him third overall in 2003. The Brooklyn native wanted the deal to New York, in part for the opportunities it will present he and his actress wife, La La Vazquez, who was among the crowd that filled the lobby of the Theater at Madison Square Garden.

But Anthony made it clear his focus is on Madison Square Garden’s basketball court, where he averaged 30.4 points in his visits with Denver, just behind Kobe Bryant’s 30.5 for best among active players.

Wearing a Knicks warmup suit and orange headband, Anthony beamed as he posed for photos holding his new No. 7 jersey.

“Will we win a championship this year? Who knows?” said Anthony, who spoke for about 10 minutes. “That takes time. But at the end of the day, we’re moving into the right direction. I felt like I wanted to be part of an organization, part of a team who had some upside and knew what the future was holding.”

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