Celtics

Amendola brushes aside Patriots chatter

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Amendola brushes aside Patriots chatter

Danny Amendola is still a St. Louis Ram. And, as such, he knows where his bread is buttered.

"The Patriots? Interested in me? Ha! You joke."

Last month, murmurs of Amendola being on the Patriots radar were strong.

There was logic behind it.

Amendola is the second coming of Wes Welker. He is a restricted free agent who can be had for a second-round pick and a new contract. Welker and the Patriots remain divided on a deal that will keep the brilliant slot receiver on the team past this season. And Amendola's skill set is well-known by former Rams offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

And there were rumors behind it.
Yet when multiple sources were pressed hard about the Patriots interest in Amendola, their urgent reluctance to confirm or deny suggested something was afoot. Reading tone when covering the Patriots is, unfortunately, a necessary part of the job.

The level of interest and conversation the Patriots had regarding Amendola -- if any -- did not advance past exploratory.

New England has addressed its needs and Amendola is now chuckling at the notion of Patriots' interest.

"It was just kind of humorous to me," Amendola said. "My agent actually called me. He was like, 'What's the deal? People are calling me wondering if you're in Boston, or if you're going to be a Patriot.' "

He explained he was in the area for "a week or two" because he spent time with family around Boston after attending the funeral of an aunt in Maine.

Amendola is working back from a dislocated elbow suffered last season. He was at the Rams' facility for voluntary workouts this week.

Unless he signs a long-term deal with the Rams instead of the RFA tender, he will be an unrestricted free agent next March.

A weeks-late realization that the Celtics kind of did chase LeBron out of the East

A weeks-late realization that the Celtics kind of did chase LeBron out of the East

Jayson Tatum's Game 7 dunk did not influence LeBron James' decision to leave the Eastern Conference, no matter how much I will continue to say it daily. 

The truth, as we've all realized, is that LeBron's mind was made up long before Tatum boomed him right in the face. 

But while it wasn't about that specific play, it kind of was about Tatum dunks. And Jaylen Brown dunks. And Al Horford dunks. And these heartbreakers. 

For as much as we talk about the Celtics having a wide-open path to the NBA Finals now, the truth is they had that anyway if LeBron stayed with Cleveland. The ever-careful superstar had to know his options were to either stay in the East and get smoked by the Celtics or go out West and get smoked by the Warriors. If the results are the same, he might as well experience them in a nicer city. 

James' decision to go to the Lakers clearly wasn't about winning. If it were, he would have explored options like the Celtics, Rockets or taken the 76ers seriously.

His decision to leave the Cavaliers, however, had to at least be partially about winning. Just being home for Cleveland isn't enough; it was the fact that it could be a winner that got LeBron to return in the first place. With it no longer a title contender because of the Celtics' roster, staying in Cleveland was probably no longer worth it for James. 

What's interesting is that the Celtics knew it, too. Jaylen Brown's comments last week about wishing LeBron stayed in Cleveland were bang-on. Now that LeBron's gone, the Celtics' waltz to a Warriors matchup will be accompanied by talk from dumb people that they weren't able to do it when LeBron was in the conference. 

Here's why it's a smart move PR-wise on James' part: If LeBron stayed in the East and got beaten by the Celtics every year, people -- dumb people, but people nonetheless -- would talk about a torch being passed and how James was no longer dominant because he wasn't winning. 

The West presents a different narrative. Do you know what you're considered to be if you lose to the Warriors in the West? A victim. A victim of a super team and a victim of Kevin Durant's cowardice (the dumb people's words, not mine). 

So LeBron made an easy choice to leave Cleveland and the Celtics had to factor into it at least a little. If Kawhi Leonard eventually joins him, perhaps he can see the Celtics in the NBA Finals one of these years. That's a big "if" considering what we just saw Paul George do, but the fact of the matter is that LeBron's road to the finals was blocked whether he was in Cleveland or Los Angeles. 

Did LeBron run away from the Celtics? Not necessarily, but he clearly saw the effect the Celtics would have had on him if he stayed in Cleveland. It wasn't as pretty as L.A. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: J.D. Martinez says he's 'absolutely' open to long-term deal with Red Sox

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: J.D. Martinez says he's 'absolutely' open to long-term deal with Red Sox

(1:20) On Monday J.D. Martinez told reporters that he is ‘absolutely’ open to a long-term deal with the Red Sox. Evan Drellich joins Arbella Early Edition from the All-Star game and gives his opinion on whether the Red Sox could get a long-term deal done with J.D.

(7:30) Dan Shaughnessy and Evan Drellich react to the Red Sox placing Eduardo Rodriguez on the 10-day D.L. They discuss how this injury will impact the Red Sox at the trade deadline, and what possible moves they think they can make. 

(14:00) The Patriots had 0 players on ESPN’s “best under-25” list. Albert Breer and Phil Perry react to the list, and discuss whether Patriots fans should be worried about the future of the team.

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NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE