BOSTON -- Anderson Varejao is one of the most coveted big men in the NBA this season.Averaging a league-high 14.4 rebounds per game with 14.1 points to accompany them, the Cleveland Cavaliers center is drawing major buzz in the first two months of the season.This isn't the first time he has heard his name mentioned in trade talks -- he averaged a double-double last season and nearly 10 and 10 the previous year -- so he isn't letting himself get sidetracked by an area of the game he cannot impact."I can't control it," he said prior to the Cavaliers loss against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday. "All I've got to do is keep playing hard, keep playing my game, keep helping this team. If I get traded, I get traded. It's nothing I can do. I'm happy in Cleveland. I'm happy with the organization. Whatever happens, happens. I have no control."The Cavs acquired Varejao from the Orlando Magic after they selected him with the 30th overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft. He has been through the excitement of championship contention and the struggles of rebuilding. Even at 5-22, he is still dedicated to the Cavaliers. Varejao, 30, was upset he was sidelined by a knee injury and could not help his younger teammates take on the veteran Celtics."I hate when I'm hurt and I'm not playing and I'm not out there to help my teammates," he said. "It hurts. It hurts more than anything else to me, not being able to be out there."Varejao's commitment to his team does not go unnoticed. The Boston Celtics rank 29th overall in rebounding, and head coach Doc Rivers praised Varejao not only for his individual skills but his overall impact in the Cavs locker room."He's just a joy to watch," said Rivers. "You can see that in their play. You can see that in (Tristan) Thompson's play now and (rookie Tyler) Zeller that playing with that guy every day, it makes you take notice. I think he's been a great teacher for their bigs."Rivers continued, "He's the most active (rebounder). I'm sure there's somebody that has a better gift at it, but he's just an amazing player to watch. Not only the best rebounder, he may be the best passing big. He is skilled and his energy is part of his skill, but I don't think people realize how good he is."If Varejao continues his performance this season, it will be difficult to find those who don't realize his talents.
Listen to a jam packed episode of the "Celtics Talk" podcast with Kyle Draper, A. Sherrod Blakely, and special guest Steve Kyler from Basketball Insiders.com
Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely are back with another episode of the "Celtics Talk" podcast. This week, we start things off by discussing Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier - what their minutes should be...what their TRADE VALUE might be, etc.
Basketball Insiders.com writer Steve Kyler calls in to discuss where the Celtics fit in the East, how the incident DeMarcus Cousins got involved in at a bar in New York City might effect his trade value, and would the Magic trade Nikola Vucevic.
Finally, a heated debate on will and IF the Celtics will pay Isaiah Thomas max money when his very affordable contract is up in a couple years. Should Brad Stevens limit his minutes to guard against injury?
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while celebrating the proud ownership of this year’s Christmas tree in the Haggerty household some fifty bucks later.
*Down Goes Brown provides a list of the five most confusing players in the NHL this season, and none of them are Boston Bruins. Hooray.
*Bruce Boudreau makes the case to the Hockey News that Devan Dubnyk is more deserving of a Vezina Trophy this season than Carey Price. How about Tuukka Rask being more deserving than either one of them?
*An interesting look at the rough state of Maple Leafs goaltending right around the Tuukka Rask trade to Boston and the Vesa Toskala/Andrew Raycroft years.
*A fun video piece with FOH (Friend of Haggs) Elliotte Freidman and Wild coach Bruce Boudreau as they took a tour of Toronto together.
*Speaking of trades, the Philadelphia Flyers hit the jackpot with the Wayne Simmonds trade as he’s been a proud part of the Broad Street Bullies tradition.
*Gord Miller is an excellent play-by-play man, and he tells some great stories of his life on the road whether it’s the NHL season or the World Junior tournament.
*While the Boston University hockey team is a star-studded group with an amazing freshman recruiting class, Patrick Curry has been a player that’s quietly had an excellent season.
*A few minutes with Pittsburgh Penguins D-man Kris Letang about a wide array of subjects including Mike Sullivan and concussion spotters.
*For something completely different: good interview with the former Flash, John Wesley Shipp, about his role in the newer Flash TV series, and the coolness of bringing back Shipp and Mark Hamill as their former characters.