Since Michael Jordan retired in 2003 the West developed into the dominant conference fueled by deeper teams increased star power and -- most importantly -- more championships. Even when the Miami Heat won the NBA Finals in 2012 and '13 the Eastern Conference overall was still a bit weaker.

But entering this season Carmelo Anthony knows it's a whole new ballgame: The Eastern Conference's top five teams -- the Heat Bulls Pacers Nets and Knicks -- could all compete for the No. 1 seed according to ESPN's "Summer Forecast." And Melo feels the East is now more competitive than its conference counterpart.

"When I was in the Western Conference everybody was talking about how the West is so much better" he told ESPNNewYork.com on Wednesday. "But now the power has shifted back into the Eastern Conference so we're ready. We're excited about that."

While the Heat remain intact Derrick Rose is returning and the Nets and Pacers acquired more seasoned talent the Knicks added Andrea Bargnani Metta World Peace and Beno Udrih who Anthony believes are key pieces for the team to be successful.

"I think we have the talent" he said. "I think the most important thing is injuries for one and then everybody just coming together and just taking on the challenge as one. We can't let nothing else break that bond that we're going to build over the season."