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.
FOXBORO -- The Patriots took different approaches as the National Anthem played on Sunday at Gillette Stadium. Many, including safety and captain Devin McCourty, took a knee. Others stood and linked arms.
On the opposite sideline, it appeared as though every member of the Texans stood on the sidelines and linked arms.
Those joining McCourty on a knee included Stephon Gilmore, Malcolm Butler, Lawrence Guy, Johnson Bademosi, Alan Branch, Brandon King, Malcom Brown and rookies Deatrich Wise and Adam Butler.
Among those linking arms were Tom Brady, Phillip Dorsett, Cassius Marsh, Matthew Slater, David Harris and Dwayne Allen.