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    NBA notes: Knicks pick up option on Mike Woodson

    The Knicks have picked up the option on coach Mike Woodson’s contract for the 2014-15 season.

    Woodson led the Knicks to a 54-28 record last season and their first Atlantic Division title since 1994. He is 72-34 since taking over for Mike D'Antoni late in the 2011-12 season, a .679 winning percentage.

    New general manager Steve Mills said in a statement Monday that after spending time with Woodson recently that it was ‘‘clear that picking up his option is an easy decision.’’


    The other big issue for the team as camp opened in Greenburgh, N.Y., was the status of Carmelo Anthony and his potential free agency.

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    The Knicks followed their division title with a strangely timed change in the front office, just days before opening training camp. Mills returned to Madison Square Garden as president and GM with a mandate from owner James Dolan to overhaul the organization and make the Knicks ‘‘the best that there can be in the NBA.’’

    Maybe that would be enough to keep Anthony in New York. The NBA’s leading scorer can become a free agent next summer, and Mills said keeping him will be a priority.

    ‘‘He clearly is one of those superstar players that don’t come around very often,’’ said Mills, the former MSG president who replaced Glen Grunwald last week.

    ‘‘So while it’s premature in the process, we've made it clear that we have every intention of making Carmelo a Knick for a long time to come.’’


    Anthony insisted he’s not even considering his future yet.

    James game ‘better’

    LeBron James took time off this summer, got married, and spent time globetrotting about while tending to his many business interests.

    The NBA’s reigning Most Valuable Player also said he had time to work on his game, saying Monday, ‘‘I got better.’’

    With that, James ushered in a new season for the two-time defending champion Heat, who gathered for their annual media day. Practice begins Tuesday morning in the Bahamas.

    James didn’t say what he worked on, though Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said James spent part of his summer focusing on his post-up game.


    James also said he would not talk during the season about possibly becoming a free agent on July 1.

    Small step for Bynum

    Cavaliers center Andrew Bynum has resumed basketball activities, but he will not be medically cleared to practice when Cleveland opens training camp Tuesday. Bynum, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on both knees in March, hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since May 21, 2012 . . . Almost exactly a year after a routine physical uncovered a heart condition that threatened his career, forward Channing Frye is back with the Suns. Suns officials said they have decided that Frye, 30, should re-join the team after he was unanimously cleared by several doctors . . . As expected, the Kings signed 23-year-old center DeMarcus Cousins to a four-year max contract extension worth a reported $62 million.

    Toronto rewarded

    The 2016 NBA All-Star Game is coming to Toronto. NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver made the announcement, marking the first time Toronto will hold the showcase. Canadian rap star Drake and Mayor Rob Ford were among those at the news conference. The Raptors announced that Drake will be their ‘‘global ambassador’’ and have a voice in the team’s rebranding . . . George Karl, who won the Coach of the Year award last season but then lost his job in Denver, is joining ESPN as a studio analyst.