鈥?Tom Brady and the New England Patriots ended the regular season where they started it.Being chased by the rest of the NFL.The Patriots finished the regular season as the No. 1 team in the final AP Pro32 poll on Tuesday Pernell McPhee Jersey Redskins , receiving 11 of 12 first-place votes for 381 points in balloting by media members who regularly cover the NFL.The Patriots (13-3), tied for the best record in the NFL, will have home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.“Can we skip straight to the AFC championship game? I can’t wait,” said Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk.“It could prove a better matchup than the Super Bowl.”The Minnesota Vikings (13-3), who were tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, remained at No. 2 with 367 points. The Vikings, who received the remaining first-place vote, have the No. 2 seed in the NFC and have a chance to stay at home throughout the playoffs, including the Super Bowl which will be held at U.S. Bank Stadium on Feb. 4.“What a remarkable job by coach Mike Zimmer, who wins the NFC North going away with backup Case Keenum and now takes aim at becoming the first team in NFL history to play a Super Bowl in its home stadium,” Newsday’s Bob Glauber said.The Steelers (13-3) slipped a spot to No. 3 in the poll with 365 points and will open the playoffs at home on Jan. 14 in the divisional round.“Need (Antonio) Brown for the playoffs,” Fox Sports’ John Czarnecki said of the Steelers star wide receiver who left the loss to the Patriots on Dec. 17 with a calf injury.The Los Angeles Rams and the Philadelphia Eagles switched places. The Rams moved to No. 4 and the Eagles (13-3) slipped to No. 5.“The question hanging over the city of Philadelphia right now: Will Nick Foles be enough?” asked Jenny Vrentas of The Monday Morning Quarterback. “The last two performances of the regular season were uninspiring, but the Eagles have two weeks to regroup and come up with a game plan to win at home without Carson Wentz.”The New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers Youth Nyheim Hines Jersey , who will meet Sunday afternoon in the Superdome in the final game of wild-card weekend, remained at No. 6 and 7 respectively.“The Saints will be hard to beat in the Superdome with that running game,” said John Clayton of 710-ESPN Seattle.The Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons each moved up a spot to No. 8 and 9 respectively.The Jacksonville Jaguars slipped two spots to No. 10 after losing to the Tennessee Titans, who jumped four spots to No. 11.The Buffalo Bills, who ended the league’s longest streak of consecutive seasons without a postseason appearance when Andy Dalton and the Bengals stunned the Baltimore Ravens 31-27, gained two spots to finish tied with the Los Angeles Chargers at No. 12.“After ending a 17-year playoff drought, the resourceful Bills travel to Jacksonville feeling giddy and carefree,” said Ira Kaufman of SB Nation Radio.
Kevin Durant is staying put for now. So are Paul George and Chris Paul.
Meanwhile, LeBron James‘ next move remains unclear.
Durant has decided to sign a two-year deal with the Golden State Warriors, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Saturday because the deal cannot become official until the league’s offseason moratorium ends on Friday. The deal comes with a player option for 2019-20, so Durant can – and likely will – become a free agent again next summer.
So much for the notion that stars would wait for James to decide his future before they would decide theirs.
Things went a very different way.
Durant, Paul and George all knew what they were going to do even before the NBA’s moratorium – and the start of free agency – officially kicked in at 12:01 a.m. EDT on Sunday. So did plenty of other players, and by the time the moratorium was 2 hours old nearly $700 million worth of deals had been agreed upon Brian Allen Color Rush Jersey , based on figures confirmed to AP by people involved in the various decisions.
Durant’s move is a win on multiple levels for the two-time defending NBA champion Warriors. Not only do they get to keep the 2017 and 2018 NBA Finals MVP, but they also get some financial flexibility in the deal.
Durant will be paid about $30.5 million this coming season, about $5 million less than he could have commanded if the deal was structured differently. That savings will give Golden State options for other moves this summer, as the Warriors look to bolster their bench for a run at what could be a fourth title in a five-year span.
They might need the boost, because the Western Conference is going to be loaded again.
George took the stage at a party in Oklahoma City on Saturday night and announced that he will be staying with the Thunder, a move that might have been unexpected a year ago when he was traded away by the Indiana Pacers – presumably because of the belief that he was already focused on joining his hometown Los Angeles Lakers in free agency.
That move isn’t happening.
Not now, anyway, and barring a trade not for at least three years in what will be considered a massive victory for the Thunder and general manager Sam Presti. George agreed to a four-year deal that will be worth roughly $135 million, though he can opt out of the final season, according to a person familiar with the terms.
”I’m here to stay,” George told the crowd at the party.
Down in Houston, Paul has told Rockets fans the same thing.
”UNFINISHED BUSINESS,” Paul wrote on Twitter at the exact moment that the calendar flipped to July 1 in the East Joe Namath Jersey Youth , meaning the NBA’s free agency frenzy was officially open for the summer.
His meaning was clear. The Rockets were tantalizingly close to a trip to the NBA Finals this spring, and Paul’s coming back to get over that hump.
Houston took Golden State to seven games in the Western Conference finals back in May. Paul missed the last two games of that series with an injury, and the Rockets wasted big leads in both of those games – then had to watch the Warriors sweep Cleveland for the NBA title.
Paul averaged 18.6 points and 7.9 assists last season with the Rockets, who went 65-17 led by Paul and newly minted NBA MVP James Harden. ESPN reported he is signing a four-year deal that will be worth $160 million.
Meanwhile, James created a frenzy on Saturday without saying a word.
James spent the week vacationing in Anguilla, and hopped aboard a private Gulfstream jet in the morning to fly to the Los Angeles area. By the time he arrived around midday – after his flight plan was tracked online – reporters and at least one news helicopter were waiting for the Cleveland Cavaliers star, who decided to become an unrestricted free agent and not opt-in to a $35.6 million deal for this coming season.
The Lakers have long been mentioned as a top destination for James, and they have more salary cap space this summer than any team in the NBA. But going to L.A. on Saturday doesn’t necessarily provide any hint about his team for next season, since James has homes in Southern California.
But if James is going to be the next superstar to follow in the legacy that Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson built for the Lakers, it’s already fairly evident that not everyone in the NBA will be thrilled by the development.
”The Lakers are FOREVER gonna be Kobe’s and Magic’s team…. Process that Cheap Customized Miami Dolphins Jerseys ,” Philadelphia star Joel Embiid wrote on Twitter.
Philadelphia has been one of the teams often mentioned as a club that would pursue James this summer, and that still may be the case.
With Durant, George and Paul off the board, James is the biggest name left to decide his intentions when it comes to free agency. His agent Rich Paul was expected to meet by phone with Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman early Sunday, and there has been no indication when James will announce his plans for next season and beyond.
For Dallas, persistence paid off. The Mavs finally are getting DeAndre Jordan.
Jordan agreed to sign with Dallas three years ago, then changed his mind and social media went beyond abuzz over what happened next. Former teammate Blake Griffin and coach Doc Rivers were part of a contingent that went to his house and stayed with him until the deal was official.
But he agreed quickly this time to a one-year, $24.1 million deal and will finally be part of the Mavericks.
Denver added to the huge night of spending out West when it got Will Barton to commit to staying in what will be a f.